Bohica Lodge Lebanese Menu, way up north

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I love a small world. Several months back, I received a note from someone who had been googling around for a good recipe for kibbeh nayeh. Clif came across my site (yay SEO), and as he read my essay about my father’s near-religious devotion to the proper kibbeh-making technique, he realized that he was reading the work of the daughter of one of his law school classmates.

Any time I meet someone who knew my father, I feel this compelling sense that he’s here again, and I want to reach out and touch the other person’s memory. Or rather, grab the memory and pull it close like a balloon that wants to fly away on the wind.

Clif reminded me of Dad, in the way he reached out and the way he shared so freely. He felt like an old friend within a few sentences on the page. Then he did something extraordinary, something also very much like my father: he invited me to visit him and his wife at their home. Come, he said, I want to meet the friend I never knew I had.

There is so much to tell about the visit, and most of that I’m going to do in photos this week. Turns out Clif and I have much more in common than my father. He lives up north, in a place that makes Harbor Springs seem like a metropolis, on Drummond Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the “U.P.”). Clif loves food, and is an exceptional epicurean—a true renaissance man given his business acumen, the intensity with which he pursues his many interests, the leadership contributions he’s making in his non-retirement retirement years as the Chair of the board of trustees of the Michigan State University College of Law (formerly Detroit College of Law, where he and Dad went to school).

We talked food much of our time together, and I don’t mind saying I walked away with a fist full of Clif and his wife Carolyn’s favorite recipes (I’m always on the hunt) and a box full of jars of preserves from their farm. Among the things Clif and Carolyn care about, tops is land and water, the land and waters of northern Michigan.

Here’s the menu from the dinner we shared at their home, “Bohica Lodge,” a menu complete with Arabic spellings and spectacular wine pairings. In the kitchen was Chef Ross, who exchanged his city life for the quiet of Drummond Island years ago… just the kind of extreme leap that impresses me. I was in the kitchen with him too, watching like a hawk as he made his focaccia and pita bread and getting my hands into it, to mix the kibbeh made with their succulent 4-H lamb. A menu, and a night, to remember.

Bohica Lodge Menu
(of which there was an actual, lovely one, at each place setting)

Mihshi Waraq Inab, Stuffed Grape Leaves
Homemade Pita Bread and Focaccia with za’atar and garlic

Kibbeh Nayeh with Toasted Pine Nuts

Intermezzo: Homemade Mixed Berry Sorbet

Wood Grilled Red Snapper with Lemon Tahini Sauce, red lentils, and Bohica Farm Swiss Chard

Baklawa, espresso, cappuccino

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  1. Geri Kalush Conklin says:

    All I can say is mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
    Thank you again for another heart warming story.You bring such pride to our heritage.

  2. Patty Tomlinson says:

    Maureen: This brought back memories. of your Dad. I must admit I had a terrible crush on him. My brother, Clif, had him at our house different times when they were in school. A few times when he visited Clif and Carolyn they called to say hello to me. My heart still went pitter pat.

  3. Amanda Pender says:

    And to continue the small world theme…
    I was browsing recent blog posts on bloglovin and came across this post and thought “wait a minute. There aren’t that many Bohica Lodges in the world.” Sure enough, those are my grandparents! I am so glad to hear you got to experience what Drummond Island has to offer and that you enjoyed the company of my dear grandparents. Now I’m going to have to see if I can get me some of that kibbeh nayeh!

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      NO WAAAAAY!!!!!!! Big hug to you, Amanda!!! Your family is very special indeed.

  4. Michelle Deiter says:

    A great story and friend for life. I am sure your father was smiling . Let’s eat !

  5. Diane Nassir (My maternal grandmother was an Abowd) says:

    Maureen, a most lovely story.

  6. Bill B. says:

    What a marvelous meeting it must have been.

  7. Roger Toomey says:

    You mentioned the 4-H lamb and I just picked up mine from the butcher. One of the best sources of lamb (or any other meat) is to contact the local University Extension office and get your name on the list to buy a 4-H animal after the fair. At the end of the fair they have a carcass contest in which the animals are judged with the skin off to see which is actually the best and not just the prettiest. The kids get ribbons etc. for this contest but then need to have someone take the meat. The kids that have worked with and loved the animal for a year don’t want to take it home in a box of packages so are happy to sell it to anyone that will take it. Mine was actually shown at the State Fair.

    The way it is done in my area is that I am contacted by the parents in case of a young 4-Her or the older 4-Her themselves who tell me the price they would like. I then send them a check and they tell me which “locker” that I can contact to get the meat. I then call the locker and tell them how I want the animal cut up. I also take the locker spices to be added to the ground meat so it is all ready to cook direct from the freezer. They call back when the meat is ready and I pick it up and pay them for their work. In the past it has cost me a total of about $2/lb, but this year the price was closer to $3. Still not bad for the best and freshest available. And on the side I figure I’ve given a kid some money for their college fund.

  8. Jerry Wakeen says:

    Ha! I found it.
    If they had drawn the international border line straight it would be in Canada.
    Much larger than Mackinac Island (where they have secret recipes for FUDGE)!
    Here is a link but you can Google it just as easily:
    Fascinating story Maureen sounds like you had a great time.

    Reminds me of a story, back when I had an uncle living in Wausau Wisconsin, also an attorney I, twice, took the northern route to see him (from Maryland up into Canada and across to Sault Ste Marie then down into the US) into Michigan, over to Wisconsin, thru Wausau and finally to my home town on the Mississippi (La Crosse). We stopped at Mackinac Island and generally had a good trip. EXCEPT for one minor traffic problem. We were using a radar detector, when a Canadian police car passed us going the other direction and turned around, I knew we were in trouble so I hid the radar detector under the seat. A nice lady, pretty blond, policewoman stopped us and informed us that she had detected a radar detector and they aren’t allowed in Canada (though admitting the warning sign was small where we entered Canada). So she asked: “do you have a radar detector”. I wasn’t going to admit it and get it confiscated so I said “NO”. She very nicely explained that they wouldn’t confiscate it and if I admitted having one and put it in the trunk she would let it go, and if I didn’t admit it and they would search the car and perhaps confiscate it and perhaps fine us. So she repeated her question. I repeated an answer, this time I said “Yes”. She walked around to the back with me and directed me to put it in the trunk and not use it again in Canada. Now you know why I remember Mackinaw Island! And the FUDGE!!!

    The Island looks like it is so far north that in the winter they would be able to walk all around the frozen lake. It could be a hard place to live, though looking at the fireplace it does have its compensations.

    Thanks for sharing.
    best, Jerry

  9. Jody Namey Atty says:

    Your comments about your Dad & memories brought tears to my eyes! Funny that for some reason I’ve been thinking about my Dad all day today!!
    The menu has my mouth watering!!
    What a great story! Thanks again for sharing yourself so freely with all of us!
    Love, Jody