Rachael Ray Middle Eastern?

September 30, 2007

From p. 65 of Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals For Kids:

My sister Maria makes this dish in memory of our Grandma Betar’s cooking. As children, we loved Grandma Betar and her wonderful Middle Eastern cooking. Now that we are grown, my sister is really good at keeping Grandma Betar with us all through the preparation of such recipes. Today, Maria’s own kids, Nick and Jess, love Middle Eastern dishes like this one.

I’m guessing the Middle Eastern grandmother is on Ray’s mother’s side since she talks a lot about her maternal grandfather and never of her maternal grandmother. I wonder why she hasn’t talked about her Middle Eastern ancestry like she has with her grandfather’s Sicilian heritage and to a small extent, her father’s Cajun side. Think of it: most Middle Eastern appetizers are very quick to prepare, i.e. hummus, fattoush, spaghetti with yogurt and pine nuts, tabbouleh, green beans with olive oil and tomatoes, rocket salad with pomegranate seeds, etc.

So why isn’t she cashing in on her Middle Eastern side?



  1. Hmm.. being broad minded I guess!

  2. Being Sicilian is cooler than being Middle Eastern ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    I can’t say I blame her. (Sometimes)

  3. maybe she’s not middle eastern, just knows how to cook ME food

  4. chikapappi – or narrow minded? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    This Lady Says – I think Italian food is more marketable, so she jumped on it. It’s easy to prepare, cheap, and most people love it.

    EniGma – Betar doesn’t sound like a Middle Eastern/Jewish name to you?

  5. I once dated a guy with the last name Betar. He was Syrian…

  6. Hey Angela – See?! I knew it sounded like an Arab name.

  7. yeah, just googled it, it’s jewish

  8. yeh i was gonna say maybe it was Hebrew not Arabic. But even so, i think most of their food is quite similar. I agree that it would be fun if she cooked middle eastern food too, felafel anyone? lol yum

  9. Hey Laila – I remember she did a shish tawook type dish on her show once. And she has a “Middle Eastern Rice Bowl” recipe (that’s where the quote came from) but I wish she would feature more Middle Eastern food on her show and in her cookbooks. I’m all for quick Arabic food! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Me too, quickie Arabic food is great..lol are you thinkin what im thinking? perhaps we could make something out of this interest. Lets put this down as a possible future joint project on a little mental list, watch this space ;)*plots and schemes* lol

  11. Laila – Sounds like a fabulous idea! ๐Ÿ™‚ Send your plots and schemes my way and let’s work on it after Ramadan?

  12. she’s probably ashamed

  13. I finally figured this out. Rachael’s half sister Maria’s last name is Betar. She and Rachael have different fathers. Betar must have been the last name of their mother’s first husband. The grandma Rachael is talking about is related to her sister, not her. This grandma must be her sister’s father’s mother. So she is no blood relation to Rachael, but Rachael still calls her “our grandma”. Make sense now?

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