25 March 2009

Food: A taste of heritage

In Jerusalem, they lined up for a taste of Grandma's cooking on Sunday at the first Festival of the Jerusalem Pot.

Trying to get a precise recipe from one of Jerusalem's elderly cooks is impossible - they have neither specific quantities nor cooking times.

"It's simple," says Rachel Guate, who was preparing a couscous and a black-eyed pea dish, delicacies from her native Tripoli that are much more complex than this description would imply.

The cooking process will have to remain a mystery. When asked, Guate listed only some of the ingredients: white beans, mangold leaves "ground really well and fried," stuffed intestines, some sort of beef patties that were cooked for hours, made from "beef fat, eggs, semolina, garlic and spices," and couscous.
The festival attracted thousands of hungry residents into the city's Mahane Yehuda market, reported Haaretz.

Some of the most famous home cooks were paired with famous chefs from local restaurants who helped the grandmothers make large quantities of traditional ethnic delights from many communities.

The enormous pots of food sat on improvised tables, while several road shows
offered additional entertainment. Unlike every other food festival that has been
held in recent years, this one offered a rare combination of roots, groove and
even Hassidic robes.
Chefs Keren Kadosh and Tallie Friedman, who organized the festival, visited each of the grandmothers in their own homes, eventually tasting food from 50-60 grandmothers. The event featured dishes from Morocco, Italy, Iran, Poland, Ashkenazi, Jerusalem, Kurdistan and Tripoli (Libya).

Nu? So where's the cookbook? I'd buy one if it were available.

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