Archives for posts with tag: Palestine

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 01.33.24.jpgIf you are interested in the culture, politics, ecology and economy of food in Palestine, may I recommend FoodJusticePalestine, a quite remarkable website curating diverse articles and voices from around the web on many aspects of eating and growing there.

Had I been following this site earlier, I might have been aware, for example, of the neoliberal trade context that makes Nutella a normal part of life in occupied territories, despite an initial dismay, elucidated for me by Aisha Mansour in this article. I’ve also come to question my own assumed unequivocal support of fairtrade products from Palestine, a movement that is well intentioned (and so much about solidarity) but needs to be examined in terms of issues of food sovereignty at the broadest levels.

“International fair-trade companies have also decreased Palestinian self-sufficiency. These companies offer local farmers a slightly higher price for their products than the price in the local market, but the real price of this practice is that high-quality local (baladi) produce is removed from the local market and sold to the global market at much higher prices. This has increased inequalities in Palestinian society, creating a minority of wealthy businesspeople, and leaving an entire population with low quality, imported food.”

There’s much more on this Tumblr site – articles about foodways, Permaculture, trade deals, land rights and more.  In fact it brings together so many aspects of how and why food is interesting to me.  So I wanted to share it on my blog.  Have a look and fall into a rabbit hole of fascination…  You don’t need to join Tumblr to view, but joining means you can follow people and ‘scapbook’ your own posts.

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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, Read the rest of this entry »

Macaroni Bechamel معكرونة بشاميل

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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We Are Not Numbers is a project of Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights and seeks to give young writers in Gaza a platform to broadcast their voices.  I contacted them to offer my blog to share food-related posts, knowing food sustainability and sovereignty to be so multifaceted and challenging in Gaza and Palestine in general, from the brilliant book The Gaza Kitchen, discussed here.  WANN’s director, Pam Bailey, responded, yes please, and would I like as well to be a mentor to two young women, both 19, both university students, coaching and encouraging them on their writing?  Though I don’t think of myself as a writer, I do think of myself as a friendly, helpful person, and so I agreed– and “chatting” with them on line, corresponding, reading their work, commenting, learning about their lives, has become a real joy in my life.  I am truly impressed by their intelligence, depth, humour, and capacity to read, write and communicate in English as a language of study.

Hey, if you can, please contribute to this fund to support a modicum of payment for the marvellous journalism and reflections of all the young writers working with WANN. 🙂

This here is a piece by Hasna Abu Ewaida, describing her favourite dish, her mother’s hand-and love-crafted Maftoul, which she wakes at 5am to make!  It’s a thrilling, detailed description of the crafting of a meal in the context of culture and family. I would love to eat it, though I confess I’ve already bought myself a pack of Zaytoun Maftoul which if you live in the UK you can find in fair-trade and small food shops

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This is Gaza Too: Behind the Rubble and Mayhem, Food that Feeds the Soul by Hasna Abu Awed

Read the rest of this entry »

Today is Nakba Day, a day organised to remember the “displacement, dispossession, and dispersal” of the people of Palestine, an extremely unhappy part of the history of Palestine/ Israel.  Reading stories and accounts, really sitting with the agony, violence and dislocation, has surely given me an empathy to Palestinians, even, perhaps especially, from my point of view as a person of Jewish descent and cultural identity, in the specific ways I grew up understanding what these were.

Read the rest of this entry »

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