Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Through Our Stomachs

Peace? Pollard? Pah! I'm going to shirk from what is expected of the far-lefty, and instead blog about the ultimate unifying force in joining together the hearts of all wo/mankind: Food!

Before I begin, I must admit to being more than a little trepidatious that Jameel has asked me to be part of this glorious blogging carnival. His request came with strict instructions not to be "too left wing" so I will oblige, and just politely inform you all that should you get the urge to read a post about Paradise Now winning a Golden Globe (written by someone who actually saw the film and has what to say) hop over to my blog sometime in the future.

Meantime I'm going to share a funny incident from my work in East Jerusalem. To those of you who don't know, a few days a week I work at a Palestinian NGO. "How can you?" you might ask... Well, my unending ending-the-conflict aspirations aside, it is mainly because my lovely co-workers bring me chocolate. Lots of it. And good stuff that disgracefully doesn't get imported into Israel. Hmm, now I think about it, maybe I am indeed pathetically naive as to their secret plans for an intra-Parrot, intravenous intifada- death by Cadburys! Well, I can think of worse ways to leave this earth, frankly.

Anyway, a few weeks ago while I was gorging on the brown stuff (a new Galaxy/Dove bar with candied almonds, FYI), my coworkers became very excited by a flyer for a new take-away place which had just opened in the area: A place clearly hoping for lots of diplomatic and tourist dollars, as they'd had their menu meticulously translated into English. So while they were all deciding what to order for lunch, I half-scrutinised what was on offer... and was bemused to find among the Meal options, a "Palestinian" Burger.

Now, I hold dual citizenship, but last I checked there is neither a famed "British Burger" nor an "Israeli Burger." And even if you are reading this blog and your nation is somehow associated with burgers, presumably you also have other idenitfying cultural minutae such as, ooh- Passports? Borders? a National Anthem? Hence my confusion: such ostensibly skewed priorities towards self-determination aside, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what on earth a "Palestinian Burger" could possible allude to: I asked several colleagues out of genuine curiosity, all of whom were surprisingly as clueless as I was as to the origins of their alleged national delicacy, and most of whom thought it just as odd.

Clearly, whatever it was, or is, it didn't take their fancy: they were all much more excited about ordering the celebrated "Square Pizza," also apparently pioneered by this enterprising faction. One visiting luncher told us how this was the best pizza in Palestine, and in fact the world, and assured me that even I would be amazed by the innovative presentation.

Amazed? Well, their "Square" pizza arrived. In a rectangular orange box, which, from the lettering down to the way it was cut up inside, all looked suspiciously familiar. Another national dish, pray? To -literally- top off my increasing amusement, I was asked to translate the Hebrew writing on the accompanying sachet:

"Spicy Pizza Topping, Strictly Kosher"*

Whoever these purported purveyors of "premium" Palestinian cuisine are, I salute them for outright cheekiness: The mind but boggles as to which choice condiments- Mehadrin or no- might have garnished the said national Burger. If I ever do find out, I'll let you all know.

*It should be noted that Israeli food products are actually widely marketed within the PA. But not all have such comic timing for me.

Wherever Jameel is, his blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael. Which is nice.


Truth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Truth said...

Even more striking is the mysterious and romantic-sounding, 'Sailor Man Burger'. [Lurking down at the bottom edge of that menu in the photo]

What in blazes could that be?

Is it a 'Manburger' for a palestinian Sailor [you know, strains of 'Sinbad', etc.]?

Or could it have to do with something even more ominous, related to Winston Churchill's famous statement:

"Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash."

[note: sounds alot like the tradition of Palmach, Mapai, Saddam Hussein's regime, and the PA/Hamas, eh?]

Just some food for thought, as always...


Lab Rab said...

"Sailor Man" burger - a burger fried with Olive Oil. [Though you may have had to grow up watching American cartoons to understand why.]

Anonymous said...

"Palestine"? Isn't that that little town in Texas where the Space Shuttle crashed over?

Anonymous said...

Curious about the ingredients in the Palestinian Burger, the "National Delicacy"?

Don't wonder any more...

Check it out here...


Kind of makes you wonder about that pizza's secret sauce. Eh?

rockofgalilee said...

I think a palestinian burger happens when they repackage the work accidents.

Anonymous said...

Well aren't you all just DELIGHTFUL.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

People: What the heck's your problem? I invite the purple parrot over to guest blog...and you can't even behave yourselves for one posting?

Sheesh. I'm disappointed.

JJ said...

I admit that I, too, am intrigued by the salacious-sounding "Sailor Man Burger." Is it delivered by a handsome naval recruit?

Very tasty post, PP!

westbankmama said...

You get Cadburys!!!!

(ok,ok, I've stopped drooling...)

miriamp said...

Lab Rab said...

"Sailor Man" burger - a burger fried with Olive Oil.

And Spinach! Don't forget the Spinach.

Anonymous said...

I just got the spinach and the olive oil reference. LOL

My dad and I use to always joke about the hamburgers in Israel (except for Burger Ranch) that each time we lifted the bun, we were afraid a yelp or meow would be heard.

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