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The Origin of Tabouli

Once, in the land of Rome on the fourth day of a very hot summer, the Emperor Caesar let it be known that he desired a salad. His talented chef, looking at the huge pile of romaine lettuce in the storeroom, deliberated about what to do with an item as basic and humble as lettuce. So he gathered some fruity virgin olive oil, the anchovies he recently salted and dried, some toasted bread squares brushed with oil and herbs, the yolk of a freshly laid egg, sea salt and cracked pepper. As an afterthought he also grated some dried parmesan cheese.  "This salad is surely fit for an emperor."

Ironically, at the same time not too far away, Cleopatra, also overcome by the summer heat, requested from her slaves, a tangy, refreshing salad. Her personal cook mixed together soaked cracked wheat grains, freshly chopped green parsley, red ripe tomato chunks, freshly chopped mint from the garden, as well as chopped summer onion. Lastly he squeezed fresh lemon juice into a little virgin olive oil, whisked it quickly and poured it all over the salad. Cleopatra was exultant! The salad was very light, dietetic and tart with the essence of lemons. She proclaimed it to be called "Cleopatra Salad."

When the news of this creation reached the Emperor Caesar, he flew into a jealous rage. Not to be upstaged by Cleopatra's salad, he ordered her to change its name.

And so it came to pass that this salad be known as "Tabouli".


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