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April 12, 2013

The Gaza Kitchen

Nancy Matsumoto

Written by a Palestinian political analyst, social activist and blogger, and an American writer, this fascinating and mouth-watering read is much more than a cookbook. It takes us into the homes and kitchens of resourceful and resilient women who have managed to preserve their vivid palette of ingredients and flavors despite decades of turmoil and the downsizing of their homeland to a 25-mile-long strip of land. The voices of homemakers, farmers, small food producers, fishermen and bakers, and the recipes they generously share —marked by hot chili and dill, “the Gazan combination par excellence” — will be novel and thrilling to westerners who consider falafel and hummus the be-all and end-all of Middle Eastern cuisine. We are introduced to traditional red tahini made with roasted sesame seeds, sour plums that lend a prized mouth-puckering quality to Gazan dishes, as well as recipes for pickled lemons, vibrant salads, meze (little dishes including arugula soup and chard and meat pies), meat, fowl and fish dishes, all with an emphasis on “home foods” rather than restaurant fare. The authors suggest substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients, making it easy to recreate these dishes at home. Like any good book, “The Gaza Kitchen” transports us to another world and enables us to identify with the joys and hardships of its inhabitants.

PalestinianMiddle EasternPumpkinRecipe