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A unique cultural history has helped to make Lebanese food the most popular of all Middle Eastern cuisines.For most of its past, Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers that have influenced the types of food the Lebanese ate.This is because Lebanon is home to two main religions: Islam and Christianity.Despite bitter disagreements between them, the people of both religions continue to enjoy their own traditional festive celebrations, which often include large feasts among family and friends.Lebanon contains few rivers, and its harbors are mostly shallow and small, with polluted coastal waters.Lebanon has an extraordinarily varied climate: within a 45-minutes drive in winter, spring, and fall, both skiing and swimming are possible.Mint, parsley, oregano, garlic, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon are the most common seasonings.
The Ottomans also increased the popularity of lamb.
After the Ottomans were defeated in World War I (1914–1918), France took control of Lebanon until 1946, when the country won its independence.
During this time, the French introduced some of their most widely eaten foods, particularly treats such as flan, a caramel custard dessert dating back to the 1500s, and buttery croissants.
The national dish, kibbeh (or kibbe ), consists of a ground lamb and cracked wheat paste, similar to paté.
Kibbeh was originally made by harshly pounding the lamb and kneading in the spices and wheat.