HOW WE STARTED OUT
The story of Sweet Tahini began when our family moved from Israel to northwest Texas in 2009. I left behind everything I had achieved in the over 10 years I was working in the fashion industry, and we headed to an unfamiliar place where we knew almost nobody.
In our first year away from home, my husband spent the day at work, the kids at school, and I explored our new surroundings. In this first year, I was a bit lonely, but never bored. When I felt homesick, I headed to the kitchen and I cooked the foods we used to eat back home, and that made us all feel close to our family and friends.
I grew up eating mainly Ashkenazi Jewish food at my grandparent's house, but both of my parents were born in Israel and what they brought to their new family’s dining table was a mix of central European dishes and new Israeli local food. We had instant "Elite" coffee with home-baked rugelach for breakfast, schnitzel and ptitim (Israeli toasted pasta) for lunch, and for dinner- eggs, cheeses, yogurt, olives, and chopped salad with tahini. Oh, we loved tahini! We would pack it in our basket when we went on a picnic, to accompany turkey pastrami and chopped salad in a pita bread. We spent every summer weekends at the beach, grilling shish kebabs and dipping every meat bite in tahini sauce with lots of garlic and lemon, and like any other kid back then in the 70's, we enjoyed every celebration with the ultimate birthdays food - half a pita with hummus or tahini spread and a slice of pickled cucumber tucked in. Trips to the falafel stand usually ended up with our pitta falling apart after we overloaded it with liquidish tahini sauce.
Moving to Lubbock, Texas, we quickly learned the foundation of the southern comfort food. We bought a grill, experimented with local ingredients, and then started to invite people over to BBQs. We would have grilled eggplant with tahini and pita with hummus as appetizers, local (literally) beef steaks, middle eastern spiced chicken thigh skewers, and tahini cookies or halvah ice cream for dessert. This was our way to share our culture and flavors, to tell our story, and eventually make new friends.
Five years later, we moved to Massachusetts. Tahini was more familiar in the East Coast than it was in Texas, but it was mainly associated with hummus, and lacked the attention it deserves for its highly exceptional nutritious values and versatility. There was a growing interest in healthy food, and many people adopted popular diets. The Mediterranean diet, however, which is known as a healthy eating plan, remained out of the conversation.
With a desire to share tahini- a nutty-flavored nutritious paste, a star in the Middle Eastern cuisine with lots of potential beyond just hummus- Sweet Tahini was born.