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Photo courtesy of Salsabeel Zeineddin

“Mummy, I have a wish,” said my son with a contrived sweetness.

“Yes, Darling, tell me.”

“That you make crepes for breakfast tomorrow.” It was a school night, and mornings for us are stressfully chaotic.  Crepes are labour intensive.

“Ummmmm…. What would you want with them?” I asked conflicted in desiring to give him what he wanted but feeling selfish and irritated.

Nutella.

This seemed an odd coincidence as I’d just been reading a piece about Nutella Crepes in Gaza, called “Dreaming of Chocolate,” written by a young Palestinian food writer Salsabeel Zeineddin, whom I mentor for We Are Not Numbers. For me this mentoring involves incredibly enjoyable chatting on-line plus occasional reading, editing and coaching in English for an organisation giving a platform to the voices of young Palestinians living under the complexities of Occupation. Reading articles on the We Are Not Numbers website offers great insight into what this means.

I’d been initially surprised, perhaps confused, imagining Nutella as part of Salsabeel’s food world, but of course Palestine exists in a global market place, and people everywhere have tastes that are developed by international social forces – an idea I’d really love to explore more.  And if I wanted to get picky, someone canny might point out that there are bigger problems than Nutella for the food scene in Gaza; I asked Salsabeel about this, and she pointed to how the larger issue is economic dependence on Israel, with Israel seeking to ensure its dairy industry dominates, as one example.

I buy Nutella occasionally, because my kids beg for it and the truth is, I’m not that good at saying NO when pestered (which is why they still pester me). But I don’t like myself for this. Besides the fact that homemade versions might be healthier for the body, I dislike the exploitation (some say slavery) of cocoa workers (children!) and the ecological travesty of palm oil. On the other hand, there’s the way that certain textures and flavours combined with sweetness create joy and pleasure that so many experience. Nutella seems to be near universal in its appeal, and quite wide in its geographic scope.

So I made Salsabeel’s crepe batter the night before, and approximately followed her recipe for my son in the morning before school, and enjoyed thinking about this big crazy world of ours in which one small gesture among many might be to sign “a nudge?”

And so for your reading pleasure, here’s “Dreaming of Chocolate“, Salsabeel Zeineddin’s ode to pleasure, the aspirations of a young writer, and a very delicious recipe for a “Palestinian Chocolate Crepe.”