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B'ville Library to offer Mediterranean cooking classes

The Mediterranean diet is touted as "healthy," and many Central New Yorkers love babaganoush, or hummus with pita bread. But how are these exotic foods prepared? Julie Ann Sageer, a lively first generation American, will teach you how during her four-week, "hands-on" Lebanese Cuisine class at the Baldwinsville Library starting Saturday March 20.

As a young Lebanese girl growing up in the suburbs of Liverpool, Sageer has always had a special fondness for food, especially the unique yet deliciously distinctive Middle Eastern food her family has made and served for generations. Sageer decided to share her family's legacy of delicious recipes and her love of her country's food and culture with the masses, starting with her television experience. While studying communications in New York City, Sageer became a host and producer at NYCTV for an entertainment news magazine series called NY 360 . She covered interesting personalities, red carpet events and, of course, food. She received a New York Emmy nomination and won several Telly Awards. She also hosted a chef showdown at the famed James Beard Foundation in Manhattan, featuring several celebrated New York City chefs. Now she is back in Central New York and has started teaching cooking classes, spreading her enthusiasm and creativity to her students.

The Baldwinsville Public Library is sponsoring a four-week Middle Eastern cooking class series with Sageer, presenting the "Middle Eastern Mezze," an arrangement of traditional small dishes customarily enjoyed prior to the main course of a meal or as an accompaniment to the main dishes. The class will feature four of the most well known and classic Lebanese Cuisine fan favorites: hummus, babaganoush, tabouli and falafel. The series includes demonstrations and tastings, as well as a hands-on make and take home for each session.

The Cooking Class Series kicks-off at 2 p.m. Saturday March 20, followed by classes from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays March 27, April 3 and April 10. Participants are encouraged to register for all four sessions, but may choose to register for as many as they want. To register, contact the Baldwinsville Public Library at 635-5631 or visit the Circulation Desk. A $15 fee will be collected per person, per session for the cost of ingredients and materials. Advance sign-up is required and space is limited. If classes fill up, you may add your name to a waiting list.

For each class, participants are asked to bring the following items: a cutting board or chopping mat, food processor if possible (small and/or mini's are fine), mixing bowl, lemon squeezer, chopping knife, mixing spoon and/or spatula.

Baldwinsville Public Library is a member of the Onondaga County Public Libraries and is chartered to serve the residents of the Baldwinsville School District. More information on library services is available on their Web site, bville.lib.ny.us.

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