Among my preconceived notions about Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular is that they are very ‘traditional’ people. I expected them to spend long hours slaving over slow cooked dishes and eat only foods with names that I could not understand.
While there are plenty of dishes with names that I don’t know that take hours to cook, Palestinians are also connoisseurs of some international cuisines.
So to expand upon the theme of my last post…
Palestinians love to eat! I think that gossiping and eating are the two most common ways to deal with the stress of living under occupation.
Here in Ramallah…
There are a million fried chicken joints on the main strip.
One of the few benefits of lacking statehood status is that copyright laws are not enforced. There is a café called Stars and Bucks with a green circular logo that serves icy “Froppe Chinos”. Surely a Palestinian businessman with a sense of humor returned after a few years in America and decided open the place.
The other day I ate bubbling cheesy lasagna from a restaurant called Angelo’s filled with Palestinian American kids in tank tops on summer vacation visiting their bescarved aunts and mustached uncles.
Everything in Palestine comes with French fries.
There is a bakery here that makes the best cinnamon rolls that I’ve ever had my entire life. That is no exaggeration. Every time I walk by I have to buy some, even if I’ve just eaten.
Palestinians also make great pizza. The best pizza in town, according to those in the know, is the ironically named (from an American perspective, though it’s really just an ordinary Arab name) Osama’s Pizza.
The woman I stayed with when I first arrived, Om Hilel, makes mini pizzas with olives and onions and fresh tomato sauce.
All of the American candy bars can be found here in Palestine. In fact, my coworker discovered that I like Twix and now brings it for me every day.
Other coworkers stand over my desk and ask me what I’m planning on eating for lunch and insist that I share their shawarma or hummus or labneh.
We all develop strategies to deal with the overwhelming emotions that arise from the endless checkpoints, internal divisions and rediculously unnecessary suffering and misery of occupation.
But let me tell you, Palestine is not the place to go to if you want to trim down.
Posted By Eliza Bates
Posted Aug 15th, 2007