By Jennifer Kornegay
A nutty scent fills the sunlit back room of an old schoolhouse, right outside Greensboro’s downtown. It’s the commercial kitchen of Abadir’s and all is quiet and still; the only movement is Sarah Cole rolling out her toasty tahini cookie dough. (The warming tahini of a batch already in the oven is providing the roasting-nut perfume.)
Most weekends since she started Abadir’s in October 2020, these cookies, plus a range of breads, cakes and other sweet (and, sometimes, savory) pastries, are on offer at her pop-up shops at farmers markets, boutiques and restaurants in Selma, Tuscaloosa or Birmingham. Some weekends she stays in Greensboro. She also takes orders through her website, while doing some catering, too. Yet, you won’t find the South’s usual sugar-laden and bleached-flour-based bakery suspects among the selections. Instead, with honey, dates, anise, coriander, rosewater and other Middle Eastern flavors, Cole creates confections that share her Egyptian heritage. And Abadir’s associated nonprofit, Black Belt Food Project (BBFP), is working to share the recipe for a brighter future in the region.
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