Sunday, March 6, 2011

In A Word: Sweets

Sundays are the best days to sit back and enjoy a cup of hot tea or glass of orange juice along with a tasty sweet treat! Growing up, I could always count on a mouth watering glazed doughnut to be waiting for me at Sunday School. Seems like the best way to bring people together is to start the event off with food! If the class was out of doughnuts or didn't serve any on a particular Sunday, then I would stop by the bakery after service and pick up a variety to share with family after Sunday dinner. Those were the days :)

Times have changed over the years, but Sunday doughnuts have maintained their place in the family (well at least for me). This Sunday, however, was extra special in the treat department. My mom stopped to visit a friend of hers after church and was given a unique assortment of sweet treats. When she came over to my place, she handed me the can and told me to take a look. Strange inscriptions immediately stood out on the top of the can. Under the writing (which I later discovered was Arabic) were the words "The original Zalatimo Sweets since 1860." This was followed by more odd looking script and then the slogan "Quality Middle Eastern Sweets: Jerusalem, Amman, Manama, Kuwait." Wow!

I opened the can and there under the beautiful wax paper was an assortment of small pastries filled with (what we later learned to be) pistachios and glazed with honey syrup. Some of them looked like little shredded mini wheats covered in honey glaze with a little pistachio nut siting in the middle. After logging onto the Internet to find out just what this was, I learned these particular treats were called Robin's Nests. But that wasn't the only thing in the can, all kinds of different small shaped pastries were packed neatly together. I also discovered these pastries were made with Baklava, a "rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey..." The picture above is an actual photo from Zalatimo Sweets' web site ( No chocolate, all natural, and so very good!

The brief history of the company says that in 1860 Mohammed Zalatimo opened his first pastry shop in the old city of Jersualem and from there it grew. It has since been passed down through generations of the Zalatimo family. The main address for the company is a P.O. Box in Jordan. Many of their finer chocolates and cakes are only available in that country, but the tins of sweet pastries are available world wide. It was a truly amazing experience to be sitting at my table in the southern part of the United States enjoying the fine taste of these remarkable sweets that were hand made on the other side of the world; from a place that is in such turmoil. I thought of the hands that prepared this and the people that stop by the coffee shop to enjoy the little delights. A world away, yet brought together by food.

We all have a need to be nourished by food on a daily basis. Many of us have been blessed to have the freedom to take delight in sweets in moderation (keyword is moderation). But, no matter how good the food and no matter where it comes from or what part of the world it originates, the food we eat here on earth never fully satisfies. We always end up hungry minutes or hours later. The need to re-nourish is always there.

In John 6:35 Jesus says, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." Imagine a nourishment so filling that we are always satisfied. We never again will have to be in want of food or water. I can't help but imagine the day we as believers of Christ will gather around His table in Heaven for a meal of everlasting satisfaction. Every tribe, tongue and nation brought together by the eternally satisfying food of the Savior. How sweet He is.

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