Archives for posts with tag: The Gaza Kitchen

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Through all these years fermenting vegetables, I have often wondered why there is so little a tradition of this kind of food preservation in Britain.  Did the prevalence of beer easily make malt vinegar available for vinegar pickling? Perhaps the relatively mild winters meant less of a hunger gap than in colder climes eastward? Maybe the early entrance of rural workers into a wage economy cause an earlier loss of indigenous food traditions? Might there be foodways left to be discovered? I’d like to believe this last, but I don’t have an answer.

I scour old cookbooks and find not much– perhaps an occasional mention of making fizzy drinks with “yeast” (which of course could so easily be wild rather than derived from baking and wine making)  — elderflower champagne, for example, or bottled drinks of burdock and dandelion, or nettle.  But these are sugar ferments, and different from preserving in brine with bioactive bacteria– i.e. sauerkraut, kimchi, cucumber pickles. Somewhere in Hannah Glasse I once read a reference to wedges of cabbage in salt brine– but that didn’t feel like a common cultural practice.

It was a thrill when I learned about Beetroot Stout, a delicious, nourishing, medicinal vegetable-based cocktail.  When I queried Glyn Hughes of the incredible site The Foods of England Project, he responded  that the only thing  that came to mind for him was  Potato Cheese (to England– only hypothetically– via Germany):

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http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/potatocheese.htm/ Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 19 July 1855

The immediate association was with Kishk, a Middle Eastern cultured milk and bulgur wheat ferment, 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

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Dear Slow Food friends, 

One of us has been killed in Gaza.

His name, Emad Asfour.

Here’s what Slow Food founder, Carlo Petrini wrote.

As for me:

One power it would seem is to use my social media and blogging to express a strong conviction that the methods and outcome of Israeli military might in Gaza, and Palestine, is definitively wrong.  And encourage others to do the same.

I didn’t know Emad Asfour, but when someone dies– killed by a bomb– and that someone shares things with you, you grieve.

I have tried to think through what’s happening in Gaza this past month through the lens of a cookbook called The Gaza Kitchen, and the work of Zaytoun, a Fair-Trade local-produce company working to ensure UK markets for Palestinian produce.

Through all the death, destruction, carnage, uprooting– I’m also thinking a little about the small gardens people plant, the rabbits, the bakeries, the aquaculture ponds, the trees they nurture– lots of these projects are likely destroyed too.  Aspects of daily life, daily eating, daily growing, daily hope.   Underneath rubble.

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I cried yesterday. I cried reading about the death of Samar Al-Hallaq and her two little boys, and how she was pregnant. Through this siege of Gaza I’ve seen pictures of people fleeing and children in hospital and lots of gruesome horrendous imagery. This death touches me extra somehow. A mother. Two little boys. Pregnant. Working with embroidery. The details made this woman particular for me; I felt her death as a personal loss.

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.…in which Kitchencounterculture explores local food, locavorism, veganism, climate impacts of diet, and A MASSIVE LIST OF RABBIT RECIPES from a really great collection of cookbooks…

In my freezer are two rabbits, which a local man, H,  the getting-elderly but still a-hunting brother of a friend, had in his freezer.  For £3 each it was hardly a sale but rather an exchange.  “Cook it like a chicken,” he advised, and told me he’d cut it in seven pieces: two back legs, 2 front legs, two middle bits and a “bonnet” (the ribs).  He recommended I “casserole” it: fry the pieces in a pan with carrots and onions, then tip it in a roasting tin with gravy, or wine, or beer.

My friend, H’s brother P, said H would have hung it for a few hours after bringing it  home (probably this time with a ferret not a rifle — I didn’t think to ask but will, and will update here), then gutted it, then hung it again for a few days before skinning and putting it into parts.  These are men who’s childhoods would have been 70 years ago.  H remembers his mother Sybyl roasting rabbit very plainly, but she would never eat anything wild herself, though duck was also on the menu for these country children of mid-Wales back then.

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