Old Kitchen Secrets

07 Dec 2010

Passing on knowledge of local food traditions will be at the heart of a series of events organized in Palestine for Terra Madre Day; the global Slow Food celebration of local food to be held on December 10. In Palestine, gastronomic traditions are being put forward as many local products risk disappearing because of isolation, the spread of cheap Israeli products and the high population density. Paradoxically, today the Palestinians consume few products from their own fields; imported goods have instead taken their place.

In Rafah in the Gaza Strip, members of women’s clubs will be cooking a lunch based on maftoul (Palestinian couscous), prepared according to ancient recipes and using fresh produce from the women’s courtyard gardens. Named Back to Old Kitchens in the Gaza Strip, the event will bring together around 100 women, along with representatives of the NGOs who launched the garden project to give the Strip’s women a way of coping with food shortages and earning a small income.

The sister initiative Back to Old Kitchen in the West Bank, in the city of Jericho, will bring together the elderly women of the community, the true guardians of Palestine’s gastronomic heritage, with young students to prepare two dishes: Couscous and freekeh (toasted green wheat), with the support of the Terra Madre food communities of Jericho and Gaza couscous producers and Nablus freekeh producers.

In the Beit Dajan and Sabastia Celebrations, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, women from the local communities will be cooking and explaining traditional recipes. The event is organized by the YDA (Youth Development Association), a Palestinian NGO working with young people and volunteers in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Representatives from the YDA took part in the last edition of Terra Madre, held in Turin in October, because of their work with young Palestinians.

Members of the YDA will recount their experiences at the Terra Madre world meeting of food communities to students in the Bethlehem and Hebron Celebration in the southern West Bank. Simultaneously, a day of meetings about Slow Food and Terra Madre, with tastings of traditional foods, will be held with the local women’s clubs and the inhabitants of nearby villages.

On Saturday December 11, in Al-Bireh, a small town near Ramallah, the Farmers’ Market @ Al-Bireh will host a special edition of the weekly market in the Al Kaykab botanical gardens to celebrate Terra Madre Day. Alongside the small-scale producers will be students from a local school who cultivate their own organic garden and women from nearby village cooperatives selling jams and marmalades. This will be a unique opportunity to get to know and taste quality artisanal food made in the Ramallah area: bread, dairy products, honey, olive oil and more. The farmers’ market and the special Terra Madre Day event are organized by Sharaka, a group of volunteers who support small-scale food producers by shortening the distribution chain between producer and consumer.

To find out more about the above-mentioned events or to find an event being held near you, visit the Terra Madre Day world map.

To join the celebrations around the world this Friday December 10, click here to register your event.

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