Being a single mom is hectic, and sometimes chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be a total nightmare. Lubna Abura is a single mother of twins, who never imagined herself in the kitchen making some of the finest za’atar crackers out there. Based in New York City, Lubna has created the ultimate cracker and is now in the midst of expanding her business.
Born and raised in Brazil, Lubna moved with her family to New York City at the age of 16 years for better opportunities. Despite growing up in midst of such a strong Brazilian culture, she remembers the ways in which Palestinian ethnicity was preserved while living there.
Brazil has a large Middle Eastern community. I remember we would make our own bread and harvest olives. In the 70’s and 80’s it wasn’t easy to find Middle Eastern goods and we use to travel all the way to San Paulo to source things or wait impatiently for family to bring us goods when they visited from abroad. They would carry things like za’atar and maramiya; our kitchen would come alive with all the fragrant aromas of Palestine.
At 36 Lubna was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was a difficult time for me, I thought I would never be able to have children. I was very scared but I’m so grateful I’m here today. The experience changed my life.
Lubna later married and became pregnant with twins. But when her marriage fell apart, she fell into a depression, raising her children all on her own, with zero money in her accounts.
My family was supportive, but it was tough. I could barely get by and couldn’t afford healthy snacks for my kids. It killed me that I couldn’t give them a comfortable life and za’atar was the best thing that I could offer them.
Lubna wanted to find an easier, less messy and affordable way to carry za’atar around for her twins. She came across a cracker recipe in a magazine and flavoured them with za’atar. They turned out delicious and her family and friends loved them that she began taking orders. Since she created ‘Lulu Gourmet’ and is working on an online business.
It’s important the product is accessible and affordable to everyone. They’re all-natural, no GMO, no preservatives, no colouring and fresh herbs.
Za’atar is a staple in every Palestinians home, and it gave me comfort during a dark time. My purpose to making the crackers is no longer merely about surviving anymore, but to preserve my heritage through the memories of my heritage.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tanya knew that Palestine was her symbolic homeland. Always curious about her identity and connecting with her roots, she was eager to strengthen her ties to the Levant and traveled the region, desperate to learn more. It wasn’t until her first trip to Palestine that she became spiritually and emotionally connected.
She studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She then moved to the UAE, supporting numerous NGOs related to children’s welfare in the region. When she had her own family, she created the My Olive Roots platform in the hopes that her children and the Arabs diaspora would have a place to connect, learn and preserve their roots. Tanya enjoys discovering humanist stories and exploring the connection of food and art with culture.