Gaza is often in my mind as much as it is in the news, largely because I act as “mentor” to two brilliant young women, university students who participate in We Are Not Numbers. This project at its most basic seeks to share with the world the extraordinary resilience, brilliance, individuality, personality, and capabilities of Gaza’s young people, many of whose options are extremely limited by the realities of the occupation.
Truly one of the joyful, meaningful aspects of my life these days is the opportunity to get to know these young women, through chatting and corresponding on line, helping, encouraging, editing, enjoying their idiosyncatic and profoundly grown-up takes on the world.
Recently I posted links to Hasna Abu Ewaida‘s description of a favourite and traditional dish Maftoul, a piece which said so much to me about how much relationship is embodied through food, in this case, that of Hasna and her mother.
Now Do’aa Mohaisen has written something about Macaroni Béchamel through which she reflects on gaining insight into her sister. Yet it’s interesting to me that Do’aa also puts this in the context of a mother’s home cooking, in this case a dish that ticks every box as a comfort food.
As an obsessive cook, I really honour Do’aa’s stated distance from cooking, and feel especially excited about her other writing. She is at work at the moment on a more journalistic piece on micro-financing of mini-markets in Gaza and when it’s finished, you’ll hopefully have the opportunity to read it here as well. Do’aa also writes very beautiful, moving, evocative, quite painful short prose in which she ties deeply personal experience to references that span pop-culture, religion, and war. She’s got talent. Look out World!
But this one today is about a creamy, vegetable-y pasta dish the way her mother makes it. It’s a dish, by the way, that also speaks strongly to cooking without need for a codified recipe, and one that’s great to use up all your odds and ends. It’s what we’re having tonight at ours!
We present you with…. Macaroni Béchamel: “When Food is So Much More Than Food (A Recipe)”