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Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,334 ratings  ·  220 reviews
A luminous portrait of life in the Middle East, Day of Honey weaves history, cuisine, and firsthand reporting into a fearless, intimate exploration of everyday survival. In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, while living in Baghdad and Beirut, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs a ...more
Hardcover, Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Free Press (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  1,334 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved, loved, loved this book. The book opens up in the USA, NY to be exact, right after 9/11. The author and her Muslim Arabic boyfriend were not all that popular with everyone at that time. But they marry and move to the Middle East, where the two report on war, peace, and food.
You can tell the author is passionate about food- she writes about it like it is her lover. Like they have a secret, and she is trying to explain their torrid affair. I'm not kidding about this at all. She goes into d
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, memoir
Very intimate and honest book, one of the best I ever read about the conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon. Having lived in the Middle East this book brought me back good memories of places, good friends and the wonderful food we shared.
Loved this book. No easy way to categorize or explain it, but I was moved to want to copy out sentences here and there where I felt she, the author, captured something I have known in life but that is hard to capture in words. The author presents herself in some ways as an aggressive,talkative extrovert but her writing is understated and reflective in ways that I appreciate. I was surprised when I saw her book jacket photo-- the only thing I didn't like about the book-- in the photo I saw a youn ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Annia Ciezedlo's Day of Honey is delicious. As far as I can tell, the author is obsessed with food, war, words, and keeping things complicated - all of which appeals to me (even though I'm about as likely or able to set foot in a war zone as my little dog is likely to stop eating socks). Originally, I picked this book up as a possible source for one of my International Affairs courses - and then I got obsessed and despite the fact that it was a busy week at work and I was in the middle of radiat ...more
This extraordinary debut by Annia Ciezadlo is memoir of her time covering wars, loving Mohamed (her husband), and trying to make a home in the Middle East since 2001. This memoir is like being with a friend on a crowded New York City subway: she tells the story loudly over the clatter of wheels and we (and everyone else) are riveted to her startlingly vivid tale: love, war, revenge, and mothers-in-law. And Food—it’s as though she “has prepared a feast for us with her own hands.”

Ciezadlo makes n
Panayoti Kelaidis
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I know this is a very well written and very good book. I think it may even be a great book: where else could you find such a gritty, insider's portrait of two world hot spots (Lebanon, Iraq) at the very peak of their political turbulence? Annia paints vivid portraits of dozens, maybe hundreds of individuals in these countries, provides a context for them, and documents the searing toll that war exacts on the individual. On whole cultures. Food (whole recipes, meals and shopping for them) provide ...more
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ciezadlo combined two of my own passions, food and war, into a narrative of life on the streets of Baghdad and Beirut as they were blowing up around her. I was in Baghdad at the same time, and I particularly enjoyed the impression from the other side of the T-walls. She had a much clearer view of what was really happening than those of us in the military. Still, I ate much of the same Iraqi food she describes, purchased from street vendors during the January 2005 election when I was holed up in ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-read-harder
I read this book for the 2016 Goodreads Read Harder challenge, and I'm so glad I did. I never would have picked it up otherwise. "A FOOD memoir? Ugh." Honestly I had a moment where I wondered how to get around the requirement, but it stuck out at me from the "recommended books in this genre" list.

You can read the accolades and summary for yourself, but know I agree with them.

Annia's form of storytelling is one of my favorites: a coherent timeline dotted with memories and stories and various in
Amber Williams
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
I really went back and forth trying to decide whether or not I should give this book three of four stars. I decided three was probably the most honest answer.

I really enjoyed the book and I thoroughly loved aspects of the memoir. There are so many little quotables thrown throughout the memoir, though many of them are not so much Annia's words as they are words belonging to people she is quoting.

I think Annia bit off a bit more than this book could chew. It's one part foodie narrative, one part
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
American Journalist Annia Ciezadlo’s 2011 memoir Day of Honey is about his relationship with her Lebanese-American husband, Mohamad, who is also a journalist and his family. I find Day of Honey to be a readable book, I have read the book many times and Ciezadlo provides a different perspective on the Iraqi War from 2003 to 2004 and the 2006 Lebanon War. The Day of Honey provide recipes at the end of the book, Day of Honey was nominated for a 2012 James Bread Award for best Writing and Literature ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I sometimes listen to interviews with the authors on NPR, and this book particularly intrigued me. Perhaps it is because the life of the author is the one I believed I was destined to have at one time in my life. Yes, Christiane Amanpour is one of my heroes, and now so is Annia Ciezadlo. Here she was, a fearless and truth seeking modern day war time journalist describing a life I had never dreamed possible - successfully married, having family members living near by, yet somehow living in and un ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Day of Honey makes me hungry. Not just for the unusual and exotic foods that Annia Ciezadlo describes with an unlimited vocabulary in several languages, but also hungry to explore the customs associated with food, and to peer beneath the layers of politics and war to see the real life going on underneath. Ciezadlo writes, "Food and drink were like truth serum. People would say one thing when you first met them....gradually, bite by bite, they would reveal what they really thought."

Even though th
I loved this book! I love food writing, like much of Calvin Trillin's work or Salt & Saffron by Kamila Shamsie. This book looks at the conflict in Baghdad and Beirut in the past five years through the lens of local cuisine and community. The author started dating a Shiite Muslim from Beirut shortly before 9/11, both journalists. They eventually found themselves in the Middle East, specifically Baghdad and then Beirut, during some of the violent times there. The author responded to the stress by ...more
Michael Gold
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a nice surprise. Annia travels with her Lebanese transplant husband from their New York home, both working dangerous war correspondent assignments at the beginning of the Iraq War. Along the way Annia discovers the familiar communion war-torn families in the Middle East relied on for a sense of normalcy through it all; food with origins sometimes centuries behind. Among the most unique voices I've read lately, Annia is serious and authoritative with details of the war in Iraq and later civi ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is a book that suffers from trying to be too many things at once. I found two of the many threads in this book to be particularly interesting: Ciezadlo's insights into how people use food to preserve culture and routine in turbulent times, and her stories of her relationships with those around her, especially her mother-in-law.

I wish I had made photocopies of the recipes in the back before I returned it to the library.
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book gives an insight into what the people in Lebanon and Iraq do to survive and remain human during the wars in the Mideast.
The war is the background of the memoir, but the people, friendships, neighbors, and the sharing of food is in the forefront. Few stories about the Mideast leave you feeling hopeful.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this book. It was my favorite read of 2011, and I've been searching for something with such an aesthetically sensory experience since closing the back cover. Food, culture, the real effects of war, political drama, religion vs. cultural changes, couples and family drama, and more food...this book has it Annia is smart and funny. ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
A woman after my own heart. She dodged gunfire to ensure the pasta didn't over cook. I learned about life in two war zones (Baghdad and Beirut), refined my understanding of the differences in cuisine and personality, and have a snapshot into life as a war correspondent. ...more
Sayantani Dasgupta
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lush, beautiful writing. Rich characters that the author encountered in NY, Baghdad, Beirut. Speaks of her ability to engage in meaningful conversations with a wide variety of people. I was deeply impressed with the scope of the book; all the history, art, culture, food, war, and religion this book was able to encapsulate without the author sounding like a white savior at any point of time.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Annia Ciezadlo is one tough amazing woman and a darn good writer. A war reporter, she spends her honeymoon in Baghdad in the fall of 2003 after marrying a Shiite Muslim from Lebanon she met in New York just before 9/11. The memoir covers the aftermath of invasion of Iraq, as well as the repercussions in Lebanon afterwards and I learned a lot about the precariousness of any peace that catches hold in that region. What I loved about this book is the way it is about everyday people's lives in the m ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, while living in Baghdad and Beirut, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs and mullahs. Day of Honey is her memoir of the hunger for food and friendship—a communion that feeds the soul as much as the body in times of war.

This is a wonderful novel to read. Who said you can't mix business with pleasure, its all in HOW you do it and author Annia Clezadlo did it well in t
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting topic and an insightful perspective on culture and history that many of us only knew from the surface. I would have ranked it a bit higher, but I didn't fully enjoy the structure of the author's writing. It felt a bit repetitive and muddled in parts. ...more
Cindy Hudson
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
When Annia Ciezadlo started dating a Lebanese man she met in New York, she had no idea how his culture and his family would influence her life. After all, most of Mohamad’s family lived elsewhere, in Lebanon, France and Spain. But when Newsday appointed Mohamad chief of its Middle East bureau, he wanted to be stationed in Beirut, and Annia moved with him. Soon they were both in Iraq, Mohamad reporting and Annia working as a freelance writer. Annia’s story, Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, A ...more
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ciezadlo's crowded, thoughtful, fragrant memoir of her life as a newlywed in Baghdad and later Beirut is loud with bombings and ends with recipes. This is a memoir of everyday life in several middle eastern war zones, where people turn to their food traditions to counter the constant threat of death around every corner. At one point in the book, Ciezadlo makes dinner for her husband and refugee guests while a sniper takes shots from their apartment roof. The recipe is in the back of the book.

Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Food as a way of taking your mind off war. Food as a way of learning about history. Food as a way of connecting with your mother-in-law. I know this all has been done before, and yet I absolutely loved this book. It made me wish I could travel to Beirut and Baghdad, for the way Lebanese bake bread, for the way Iraqis grill fish.

The politics of Lebanon were still hard to sort out, but the geek in me enjoyed the brief digressions into how Akkadians baked bread, how dismissive other Middle Eastern
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ‘Day of Honey’ is neither a cookbook nor a travel book: it is a free of stereotypes journey through the cultures of the Middle East, from Lebanon to Iraq and back to New York city. In a very tensed world, facing wars and violence, food is the only recipe for peace and dialogue. It is a book that should be included in the list of the compulsory bibliography of any diplomat ready to enter the real world of wars and peace between the nations. Being able to eat is part of the basic survival, but ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-the-library
I loved this book. It was mostly a memoir of the author's experiences as a war correspondent in Baghdad and Beirut, with the added spice of how cooking and eating kept her sane during those years. Although I can't relate to being a war correspondent, I can definitely relate to her seeking normalcy in a life of chaos through preparing and eating food. There is beautiful culinary history and mythology woven into the story - right down to Gilgamesh drinking at the pub at the end of the world after ...more
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a book of personal love, family connections, the history of how food connects us, and the modern conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon. The focus is personal and everyday. Annia is comforted and inspir...ed by food and let’s face it who isn’t? From her interest and love of people and food she introduces us to many middle-eastern people and delicious dishes. You start to care for these people and want to learn more about them and she does a wonderful job of explaining the modern political conflic ...more
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read. For all us us in the US who don't appreciate living in a relatively stable situation, I highly recommend this memoir. Gives a needed view of life in Iraq, Lebanon and other related areas. From Amazon: IN THE FALL OF 2003, AS IRAQ DESCENDED INTO CIVIL WAR, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. For the next six years, she lived in Baghdad and Beirut, where she dodged bullets during sectarian street battles, chronicled the Arab world’s first peaceful revolution, and watch ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Maria by: I just saw it in Politics & Prose bookstore
This memorist knew how to use the journalistic angle to get the most of the story. The story was not about her. She was the catalyst for those affected by war to tell their stories. She had the opportunity many times to emphasize her chaotic teenage years, and how she perceived the world as a result. However, when I finished this book I realized that she didn't add the story of her upbringing to say it was the reason why she empathized with others in chaotic situations, it was more a way to just ...more
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