Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan
Those looking for a cookbook filled with gorgeous photos as well as stories from the people who prepare the recipes.
In a nutshell:
Travel and food writer Khan visits cities throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories, meeting with Palestinians to learn about their food, as well as their lives under occupation.
‘I stay hopeful because I believe apartheid will eventually be defeated.’
‘I understand that you want to share our culture, but you can’t discuss Palestinian food without talking about the Occupation.’
Why I chose it:
We spent Christmas at the home of a friend’s mother, who kindly gifted us this book, with the only knowledge that we were vegetarian and liked to cook. While the book itself does have some meat recipes, it is primarily full of delicious vegetarian fare.
This cookbook is unlike any I’ve ever read before. In addition to being filled with recipes that I cannot wait to try out, the author focuses on the lives of the people who create this delicious food. As evidenced by the quotes above, which come from people Khan met with in her travels across the OPT, it is great to share these recipes with the world, but the stories of the Palestinian people need to be shared. And that includes the stories of the challenges they face under occupation in keeping their way of life.
Khan visits Palestinians living in Haifa, Akka, Jerusalem, Nablus, Jenin, Gaza, Bethlehem, Nazareth and The Galilee, and shares recipes for mazzeh, salads, soups mains, and desserts. There are so many that I want to eat right now, from roast red peppers with olives and capers, to seared halloumi, to lentils with chard and tahini to pomegranate passion cake. I plan to get started on making them this weekend.
Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it: