Well-prepared and beautifully presented food offers a wonderful opportunity to increase the joy of living, particularly if it’s consumed in a large gathering with family or friends. Palestinian food certainly has plenty to offer: grape leaves rolled pencil thin around a filling of rice with or without minced meat; finger-thick rolls of cabbage with a similar filling and plenty of garlic and some lemon; perfectly cooked maqloube turned upside down to form a layered cake of vegetables and rice, with or without chicken; delicious sweets with all kinds of nuts… the list of dishes and delicacies is endless. Moreover, Palestinians use lots of fresh vegetables enhanced by a rich variety of spices. Whether you agree, or are merely curious, this issue will inspire you to spend a few creative hours in your kitchen.
This Week in Palestine would like to thank Riyam Kafri AbuLaban and Fadi Kattan for their support in putting together this issue. Our gratitude also goes to the authors this month, including artist and anthropologist Dr. Ali Qleibo; Fadi Kattan, a Franco-Palestinian chef and hotelier; Morgan Cooper, an urban farmer, lacto-fermenter, designer, and the founder of Handmadepalestine.com; Rima Najjar, an activist, researcher, and retired professor of English literature; Hadeel Rizq-Qazzaz, a gender and development researcher and women’s rights activist; Riyam Kafri AbuLaban, an educator, writer, and baking experimentalist; Marcel Shamshoum, a Palestinian-Armenian pharmacology student and passionate food writer; Mohannad W. Kafri, an assistant professor of nutrition at Birzeit University; and Fidaa Abuhamdiya, a chef, food blogger, and teacher of future chefs. The online version features an article by Diana Mardi Atari, a field researcher in human rights who is proud of her Bedouin heritage.
Interspersed between the articles, you will find short profiles of twelve accomplished Palestinian chefs that include Fidaa Abuhamdiya, Nabil Marcos Aho, Elias Akroush, Joseph Asfour, Ahmad Ashayer, David Dides, Johnny Goric, Haig Hagopian, Fadi Kattan, Abdelkarim Shamasneh, Agustin Shomali, and Tareq Taha.
Special thanks go to our artistic director who has outdone himself again with this issue that, due to its visual appeal, is one of my all-time favorites.
We thank Saleem Zoughbi for contributing the Historical Personality of the Month, presenting the story of Ihsan al-Nimr. Be sure to check out our Book of the Month, featuring a selection of eight Palestinian cookbooks. Where to Go invites you to visit Habaq Farm in Birzeit, and Ahlan Palestine Postcard introduces you to four types of sweets to try when you visit the town of Nablus. Enjoy the listed events.
From the entire team at TWiP, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day and a happy and healthy spring! We invite you to consider visiting beautiful Palestine, especially during the coming months when it is in full bloom, as borders are reopening to welcome tourists.
By Tina Basem