Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Spices I Forgot I Longed For

When you grow up in another country, some things imprint themselves on your tastebuds and your mind forgets.

I spent some years of my childhood in Egypt, and a summer in Jerusalem. It was a natural and difficult choice to continue my Plenty project with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. Natural, because Yotam is a food genius, and difficult, because the only flag I remember in my parents’ house was a Palestinian one. (Fear not, Mennonite friends, it was not on display). This cookbook is written by Yotam and his business partner Sami Tamimi, two men who grew up in Jerusalem, and who now live in the UK. They deliberately organize the cookbook to show the similarities between different communities in Jerusalem, and talk about the controversy behind foods such as hummus. I appreciate this. I also appreciate how delicious the food is.

I am almost finished the cookbook (15 out of 125 recipes to go), except for a few strange types of pickles, fish and baking. Today, I made Ka’ach bilmach. A simple hard bread-like item, where I replaced the flour and butter with gf flour and more oil, with the spice combination I had forgotten that I loved. Saudade.