A late Christmas present copy of The Gaza Kitchen by Leila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt arrived last week.
It is full of insights into the lives of the women who keep stomachs full despite the trade embargo which has destroyed most economic activity. The recipes are simple, but eloquent statements of Gaza, its people and its history and future aspirations on hold.
This is both a cook book with easy to follow recipes, and a cultural journey from a forgotten corner of the Mediterranean Sea.
My favourite quote comes from an elderly lady, Um Ibrahim.
Now 89, she remembers a wholesome village life prior to their enforced 1948 Exodus in the face of Jewish militias. They headed for the then safety of Gazan refugee camps. She describes recipes not from her current day to day, but from that earlier memory. Now real food is referred to in the past tense.
‘’I am telling you how we would cook and eat in the past; here everything (the UN hand-outs she and her family have lived on since 1948) is unwholesome, bad food. In the past we ate heartily and were very healthy’’
Learn all about life in Gaza through the eyes of the women, their food, and their traditional and adapted recipes. Look for Palestinian #fairtrade olive oil from Equal Exchange and a range of Palestinian products from Zaytoun CIC