Culture

Palestinian cookies for Easter

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

These cookies are especially made at Easter. They can be prepared with dates or walnuts. Made with dates the kaek is said to resemble the crown of Jesus when He was nailed on the cross. With walnuts, the kaek is compared with the sponge from which Jesus drank water when he carried the cross. Christians prepare them also at Christmas. This recipe is known by Moslem families and made in the sam(...)

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Arab drinks

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Qahwe (Arabic coffee): Arabic coffee is mixed with cardamom and served with or without sugar.

When somebody leaves for a long trip, relatives throw coffee on the floor or at the entrance. This ritual serves to protect the traveller during the long journey.

It is said that when you spoil some coffee on the floor, you will meet good fortune.

If people offer you coffee, drin(...)

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Sugar story (Juha, the famous Arab comical hero)

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Juha, a famous Arab rascal, is known for his wisdom but also his practical jokes. The neighbours did not like his outrageous behaviour, and seduced him to join a journey to a lonely area at the sea shore. There they threatened to drown him if he did not swear a solemn oath to stop his naughty behaviour and to eat "salt" with them. But because he already had an agreement with the Jinn (spirits(...)

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Kenafe recipe – Nablous

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Soft cheese cooked between two layers of orange shredded pastry, served with sugar syrup and rose water. The city of Nablous is famous for its kanafa. The old fashion home-made recipe follows.

1/2 cup flour

sugar water: 1 cup water on 1 cup of sugar

nuts

white cheese

nutmeg

cinnamon

salt

butter

syrup and rose water

Mix the (...)

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Fasting and funeral – Eid al-Adha

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Fasting periods are important events. Both Moslem and Christian Palestinians fast. Fasting is a main duty for the Moslem. Each Ramadan Moslems fast for 29, 30 or 31 days depending on the position of the moon. From sunrise to sunset they eat nor drink. By doing so they remind themselves of the poor who do not have enough to eat. After sunset people start eating. In the old times people only at(...)

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The Hungry Bedouin

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Once a fellah and a Bedouin met together. Good food was spread for them at a low table. The Bedouin asked: "What do you bring for the bride, oh fellah?" The fellah said: "We bring all the clothes that are needed, the bridal dress, the black head veil, the red woolen belt, the velvet jacket with golden thread work, the silver bracelets and the silver chin chain, and European shoes." While the (...)

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The meal during occasions

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Engagements and weddings used to be celebrated at home. The groom's family prepared the meal and the visitors played music and danced on the street. During the Intifada the engagements and weddings were celebrated in a much more sober way to honour those who had died or were imprisoned. Meals were kept simple without music or dancing and the costs were kept low.

Nowadays some people lo(...)

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Zucchinis of Beit Sahour

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

There is no great difference in food preparation between Palestinian villages and towns. However, some villages are known for their specialties. Beit Sahour, for example, a town to the east of Bethlehem, is famous for its zucchinis stuffed with grape leaves in tomato sauce. It is said that the best zuchinis grow on the lands of this town. Most inhabitants of Beit Sahour are Christians. After (...)

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Food preparation during the first Intifada

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

The Intifada, the Palestinian uprising which lasted from 1987 up till 1991-2, had a deep impact on Palestinian society. In response to the grave economic and political situation, people were forced to return to old cooking and eating customs. There often was a shortage of electricity. Because of the lack of food during for instance the long curfews, and because many Palestinians decided to bo(...)

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Fishery and fish recipes in Gaza

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

Some 15 years ago Gaza was renowned for its large fish market. There you could find all kinds of fish including sardines, mullets, red bream and horse mack. As there were no long closures people had access to markets in the West Bank and Israel. The recent political changes have played havoc with the fishermen. Nowadays you can hardly speak of a Gaza fishery. The restrictions in using the har(...)

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