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Lebanese Cuisine: A world of taste

Julie Ann Sageer is proud of her heritage and plans to indulge others with the authenticity of classic Lebanese cuisines through a series of classes beginning this week at the Skaneateles Community Center.

Sageer, who grew up in Liverpool before heading to Long Island for college and a subsequent career in television media, recently moved back home to Central New York. Nestled into her new surroundings in Marietta, she began her latest adventures by holding cooking classes at the Marcellus Free Library.

Now she's bringing those talents to neighboring Skaneateles because the classes in Marcellus went so well and it "was a natural choice to come here next."

"I don't have any formal training in the culinary field," Sageer said, but she is family taught. "I pretty much picked it up from my mom."

For her, learning from her mother was the ideal way to learn how to cook and she was essentially getting it right from the old country.

Though many may regard the dishes as "Mediterranean," Sageer said there is a difference between the overarching description and how food is really prepared in each part of the Middle East.

"Each region in the Middle East do make the dishes a little differently," she said adding that those of Lebanese descent "are known for making the most delicious dishes."

By offering classes to the community, she'll be able to pass that knowledge on to others in a no nonsense way, Sageer said.

"I wanted to present the real deal. I guess I felt there was a void in the market," she said. "What was out there ... really wasn't a true representation of what the food is."

Many of the Lebanese dishes are vegetarian friendly and use ingredients such as olive oil, parsley, basil, scallions, tomatoes, bulgar wheat, mint and lemons.

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