In an effort to keep it simple as I can be quite stupid sometimes in the kitchen, I decided to make (Syrian) rice. I remember the rice in Damascus being soft and redolent of chicken broth and cumin. I found several recipes online, and curiously, all involved two ingredients I did not readily associated with Syrian/Middle Eastern cooking: 1) Butter 2) Pasta. Also, one of the recipes, actually the one I ended up using, was on a "Real Housemoms" website. (In the future, I hope to God Syria is back on track enough to host a "Real Housewives of Aleppo.")
Those elements that did strike as reminiscent of the region were pine nuts and cinnamon. For whatever reason, many Western cuisines have relegated the latter ingredient exclusively to the realm of desserts and in so doing fail to see its delicious potential when used in savory dishes.
So, it wasn't great. I appreciated the textural variations provided by the inclusion of nuts as well as grains but the seasonings proportions were way off: too much cinnamon and not enough earthy or protein flavors. Keeping it simple, it seems, was the wrong strategy.
After our trip to Damascus, Wyatt bought a Syrian and Lebanese cookbook on which I will rely heavily in the coming months. It has several recipes for rice that look more promising.