My mother gave birth to four daughters and another son during our years on the homestead, but no sooner had we plowed our land than drought turned the region to desert. Survival became precarious. Most of our fellow homesteaders, after struggling to grow carrots and potatoes in the dry soil, gave up their farms and moved to the cities. We hung on, and our garden of chickpeas and lentils—legumes native to the hot, dry climate of Syria and therefore suitable to the prairie—thrived. By following the old ways, we never went hungry—and even stayed healthy. We survived by relying on foods that, while virtually unknown in North America, had existed for centuries in the peasant communities of my parents' homeland, where farming had always been hard. We had our qawarma, for instance—and we had a source of calcium year-round, even without fresh milk. When we did have cows (bought with money my father earned peddling housewares), we made large quantities of yogurt. And from our meager wheat crop, we had something more versatile than just flour for bread: We had burghul—a crucial ingredient in our soups, stews, salads, and more.