Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo
A Memoir of Food, Love, and War

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Synopsis

A luminous portrait of life in the Middle East, Day of Honey weaves history, cuisine, and firsthand reporting into a fearless, intimate exploration of everyday survival.

In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, while living in Baghdad and Beirut, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs and mullahs. Day of Honey is her memoir of the hunger for food and friendship—a communion that feeds the soul as much as the body in times of war.

Reporting from occupied Baghdad, Ciezadlo longs for normal married life. She finds it in Beirut, her husband’s hometown, a city slowly recovering from years of civil war. But just as the young couple settles into a new home, the bloodshed they escaped in Iraq spreads to Lebanon and reawakens the terrible specter of sectarian violence. In lucid, fiercely intelligent prose, Ciezadlo uses food and the rituals of eating to illuminate a vibrant Middle East that most Americans never see. We get to know people like Roaa, a determined young Kurdish woman who dreams of exploring the world, only to see her life under occupation become confined to the kitchen; Abu Rifaat, a Baghdad book lover who spends his days eavesdropping in the ancient city’s legendary cafés; Salama al-Khafaji, a soft-spoken dentist who eludes assassins to become Iraq’s most popular female politician; and Umm Hassane, Ciezadlo’s sardonic Lebanese mother-in-law, who teaches her to cook rare family recipes—which are included in a mouthwatering appendix of Middle Eastern comfort food. As bombs destroy her new family’s ancestral home and militias invade her Beirut neighborhood, Ciezadlo illuminates the human cost of war with an extraordinary ability to anchor the rhythms of daily life in a larger political and historical context. From forbidden Baghdad book clubs to the oldest recipes in the world, Ciezadlo takes us inside the Middle East at a historic moment when hope and fear collide. Day of Honey is a brave and compassionate portrait of civilian life during wartime—a moving testament to the power of love and generosity to transcend the misery of war.
 

About Annia Ciezadlo

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Annia Ciezadlo received her M.A. in journalism from New York University in 2000. In late 2003, she left New York for Baghdad, where she worked for The Christian Science Monitor. She has also written about culture, politics, and the Middle East for The New Republic, The Nation, The Washington Post, the National Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Observer, and Lebanon's Daily Star. Annia lives somewhere between New York and Beirut, with her husband, the journalist Mohamad Bazzi.
 
Published February 1, 2011 by Free Press. 418 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Cooking. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Day of Honey

Kirkus Reviews

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A lucid memoir of life and travel in the war-torn Middle East, in which the author explores the journalistic adage that "to write the story, you have to eat the meal."

Feb 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Foo...

The New York Times

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“Day of Honey” is a memoir about food, love and war in the Middle East, by an American foreign correspondent, Annia Ciezadlo.

Feb 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Foo...

The Washington Times

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Annia Ciezadlo is a "Polish-Greek-Scotch-Irish mutt from working-class Chicago." She's a "product of stockyards and steel mills and secretarial schools." As a child, she was constantly on the move, from state to state, school to school. After college, she wandered from city to city before ending ...

Mar 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Foo...

Christian Science Monitor

Ciezadlo coped with the tension primarily by shopping for local foods, cooking local dishes, writing about food – and eating, eating, eating.

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Foo...

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