Dinner with the Druze

The first course
The first course

Its obvious as soon as I open my mouth here that I don’t speak Hebrew. But, instead of limiting my ability to find food, the language barrier has only increased the amount I’ve needed to eat. Last night we headed out to eat at the home of a Kurdish couple, who prepared an endless list of dishes over what I am convinced was a single burner camp stove. We started with hummus, pickled lemons, meat filled dough ball soup, parsley with onions, olives, cucumber salad, bread and spicy smears (spreads for bread). We then had a second course of stuffed grape leaves and meat balls in sauce. This was followed by roast chicken, slow cooked beef and rice. The old man (who spoke no English) clearly felt that I needed fattening up (which I am doing very well on my own, thank you) and proceeded to spoon food onto my plate as soon as I finished anything. He parked himself right down next to me as not to miss a chance to add something to my plate and since I haven’t learned how to say “No thanks, I’m so full I need to undo the top button of my jeans” in Hebrew, I was powerless to stop him. We finished off with tea with mint, sweat fig cookies and kumquats. Amazingly, I was able to roll myself to the car afterwards.

Tea with mint and fig cookie
Tea with mint and fig cookie

Tonight, after returning to the kibbutz from a very long trip the grocery store for dinner, my co-worker and I were waved over by the Druze stone masons who are working on our site (and also staying at the kibbutz). Neither of us speaks Hebrew, or Arabic, and the Druze don’t speak much English so were unable to decline the giant pita, BBQ pork and beer that we soon found ourselves eating. I was a little concerned about the food preparation techniques, as the pita came out of a backpack, and fingers were used to pass the pork around but I think the beer sterilized everything!

Our dinner sits in the fridge for tomorrow I guess, and I’ll have to lay off the sour cream at breakfast.

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