Basil – Permitted

   This fall, I enrolled in an intensive conversational Arabic course at one of the country’s top language programs.  I had taken several two-hour once-a-week courses in the past, but was still incapable of expressing myself much beyond “my name is…, I live in…,” and my desire to communicate in Arabic remained as strong as ever.  Pricey and […]

Continue reading...

Jordan Chickpeas

Christmas in mainstream Jewish Israel is a non-event, but in the Galilee, where 50% of the population is Arab, it’s another story.  In those Arab cities and towns where there is a Christian population, Christmas lights and decorations light up the evenings, and nighttime Christmas bazaars attract visitors, regardless of religion, over the weekend before the […]

Continue reading...

Spot the Spinach

If mallow is flamboyant, then wild spinach is coy.   Can you spot the shiny, diamond-shaped leaves in the crowd? This has been a bumper year for wild spinach and I have been gathering it in large sacks.  In my kitchen, these tender, iron-rich leaves generally are used to make a filling for a filo-dough pastry.  But […]

Continue reading...

Stand!

There have been several books that have profoundly influenced the way I see the Galilee landscape. One is the Hebrew Bible, and the second is Jarred Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel”. Diamond explains how the confluence of topography, climate and indigenous fauna and flora in the Fertile Crescent gave rise to the transition of hunting […]

Continue reading...

My Name is Arum

After my culinary memoir “Breaking Bread in Galilee” was published, I realized I had neglected to include the scientific names of the edible wild plants along with their colloquial ones.   If it is ever re-issued, I will remedy this oversight, and may even sketch each plant to fill out the picture, so to speak. In […]

Continue reading...

Green Black-Eyed Peas – Post 101

After 100 posts on the original Galilee Seasonality blog, this post number 101 launches a new blog/website I created to bring together my writing in all its formats.  Hopefully the transition has been seamless for followers of my blog, and I apologize if there have been any duplicate postings… Putting the finishing touches on the […]

Continue reading...

Lo, the Fall is Here

     On a recent, short visit to the US East Coast, I was treated to the first signs of another brilliant autumn.  Now that I’m home, my feet are comfortably back in flip flops and the main indication that summer is behind us is the supplement of a jacket and another blanket at the end […]

Continue reading...

Sweet as Carob Syrup

For years I’ve wanted to observe how carob syrup is made.  Like many of the highly labor-intensive, traditional Palestinian foodways, carob syrup production is barely practiced anymore.  But several weeks ago, on a visit to Abu Malek in Kufar Manda, I saw an enormous pile of carob pods on the front porch.  Fall is carob season […]

Continue reading...

Back to the Batof

Last June, and seemingly a decade ago, I visited the cities of Sakhnin and Arrabe, for meetings with two NGOs.  At the time, I learned about the work being done by the Towns Association for Environmental Quality on behalf of the Arab farmers of the Bet Netufa Valley.  I was also treated to the wonderful […]

Continue reading...

Common Roots

Among all the countless tragedies and losses of this current war is the blow that has been dealt to the already fragile relationships between Jews and Arabs in Israel.  Even in the best of times, suspicion and distrust have been the default sentiments among most Israeli citizens about their “other” counterparts.  And it is against […]

Continue reading...