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eG Food Blog: Lior (2011)


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Hello egulleters! I so appreciate the confidence building comments to my teasers! I felt quite hesitant doing another blog as I didn't want to bore anyone... It will soon be Chanukah, so yes, this will be in the blog during the week. I am beginning with a new interest of mine (one among too many), the Bedouin culture. This morning while the kids were in various processes of waking up (ages 14-28, my husband and I left them to make their own Shabbat breakfasts, for a change, and took a drive of about an hour and a 10 minutes to a Bedouin village called Givot Goral, to the hostpitality tent, called Salaamat. I cannot do a blog with involving culture so I hope this will be acceptable...

The host was a lovely and very hospitable man aged 38, husband to a beautiful and young looking wife, and father to no less than 8 boys ranging in age from 4 to 13. This is the Abu Nadi family, which belongs to the Al Gidiraat tribe, which consists of 10,000 people. This tribe belongs to the Shamar tribe of over one million people. This tribe originated in Saudi Arabia and has tribes in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait,Syria, Jordan and Iraq. They do get together occassionally,in Jordan. The tribe is very interested in opening its gates to other populations in Israel and has had many groups stay with them overnight, including my daughter's 9th grade class. This village is completely authentic and very friendly.

From afar:

Bedouin village.jpg

A bit closer:

Bedoiun village2.jpg

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I feel the second picture above is very representative of the changing Bedouin culture. You can see solar energy panels if you look carefully, and a camel grazing nearby... We arrived unannounced as the host did not answer the cellular phone. We figured it would work out and drove there. And it worked out perfectly, even though we had to wake him up! The kids were adorable as they noticed us first, of course. They ran to tell their mother and then the sleeping father arose! To be honest, we felt very badly! We were received with " Ahalaan wa Sahalaan!", which is a warm welcoming! The kids were given a few instructions, the mother, went into the kitchen as did the father. Right away the older kids brought out pillows and mattresses. It was a beautiful sunny day, so, as the host said, "let us sit in the sun, not a tent!"

There were two kitchens, a small family one and a very nice larger one, used for group visits (I will show pictures of both)

Off to the small family kitchen:

small family kitchen.jpg

My husband relaxing on a mattress:

Giora on the mattress.jpg

Myself under a small olive tree:

me under olive tree.jpg

Edited by Lior (log)
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The kettle was put on the fire for tea and the host made himself some "black mud coffee" also known as Turkish coffee. It is basically a ground strong coffee, cooked over a flame, with sugar added, no milk. The "mud" part sinks to the bottom of the glass. This is probably the most popular coffee in all of Israel. We have a few cute tv commercial on it. It is always served in a small glass...

black coffee.jpg

The tea was a black tea with added sage leaves and nana (peppermint?) and a few other leaves, which remain a bit of a mystery! It is served very sweet.


Edited by Lior (log)
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So, after sipping some boiling hot tea, in the sun, under a small olive tree,with a cool breeze just chilling me enough to make me want hot tea, we were served pitas, Labaneh, sliced vegetables, and eggs. The flour used for the pita is from wheat grown on the host's land,which he takes to a nearby town, Rahat, to be ground, the vegetables are bought in the market and the eggs are picked from the hens you can see walking around. The freshness, and smell of the eggs was definitely better and tastier than supermarket ones. The olive oil is from olives he picked and took to a press, also in Rahat. Eating outdoors is always more fun and the fresh air gives you a great appetite. The Labaneh is made by his adored mother. It takes her three days to make. She has it out the sun and then inside, outside and then inside... until it is the best Labaneh ever. For those who don't know, Labaneh is a kind of thick yogurt/cheese. Olive oil is poured generously over it and then it is sprinkled extremely generously with za'atar. The Labaneh we had today was so fresh and not too tangy but delicious. It was made from sheep milk. His sheep also roam the fields nearby. I wish you all could tear off a piece of pita and swipe it in the Labaneh!! Add a tomato and cucumber slice into the pita piece, which was swiped with Labaneh and olive oil and za'atar, get it all into your mouth before it drips onto your shirt, and you would be a happy human!


bedouin breakfast.jpg

Jerrycan of olive oil

olive oil.jpg

Olive oil stored in a Jerrycan

Edited by Lior (log)
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While we were enjoying our breakfast, we spent time chatting with the husband and wife team. In the background the 8 boys were doing what boys do best; rough housing, tumbling around, pushing, shoving and laughing. The host told us about an internet site he is building on the Bedouin health remedies/prevention. He recommends 3 dates upon awaking followed by a cup of camel milk. This, will easily hold you through to lunchtime and give your body everything it needs. Lunch should be natural-meat of some sort, vegetables, grains, pita etc. I asked him if his kids ever eat junk food. I guess the worst they would eat would be french fries, made at home.


One of the boys took a date from our table and got reprimanded gently. He looked awfully ashamed!

bedouin breakfast2.jpg

His mother talked quietly to him and he ran off and then returned with two potatoes from last night's campfire. The potatoes get put into the embers and cook slowly. By morning they are done and still warm. He and one of his brothers munched on the potatoes while the mother got up and went back into the family kitchen. One of the boys spread a blanket nearby ours. A few minutes later the mother came back with their lunch. ALl the boys and the mom sat down to share lunch, which consisted of rice with pieces of meat, and some other dish (?). At the end they each got a cup of pink juice.

kids lunch2.jpg

kids lunch1.jpg

kids lunch 3.jpg

Edited by Lior (log)
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Hi Ilana, How wonderful for you all especially in a country which is so beset by bombs from those who choose to define themselves as enemies.

Do write as much as you can about the Bedouin culture. We all need to understand and appreciate each other better. (Don't mean to sound preachy, but my words have just come out that way.)



learn, learn, learn...


Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Yes, Darienne!! I agree. The Bedouin culture is a very interesting one. I could not take a photo of the lovely mother, which I knew I couldn't. The father also said to be sure to exclude her in the photos as it is not respectable to have her in a photo and all. As you can see, the lifestyle is changing and although there still are tents and half tents, many now have homes as in the picture. The father stayed with us while they all ate. He mentioned how much he enjoys seeing all the children and his wife eating together. He said all families should eat together. I felt a bit badly that my kids were having breakfast without us!!

Edited by Lior (log)
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Yes, Darienne!! I agree. The Bedouin culture is a very interesting one. I could not take a photo of the lovely mother, which I knew I couldn't. The father also said to be sure to exclude her in the photos as it is not respectable to have her in a photo and all. As you can see, the lifestyle is changing and although there still are tents and half tents, many now have homes as in the picture. The father stayed with us while they all ate. He mentioned how much he enjoys seeing all the children and his wife eating together. He said all families should eat together. I felt a bit badly that my kids were having breakfast without us!!

Oh Lior, this is going to be the best blog ever!! I've eaten up every word.

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By the end of breakfast it was time to milk to milk the camel. Our host sent off the second born son to get a jug and come with us. We took a short walk to the camels.


He explained that in order to have enough milk for the baby camel and the family of 10, he keeps the baby away from the mom for a few hours, and then lets the baby out. While the baby nurses, he milks the camel. The baby was very cute and came running very quickly sraight to mama's teats! The teats are shrunken at first and as the baby sucks at each teat it becomes swollen and only then does the milk start flowing.

mother camel

camel nursing.jpg


more milk!


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It was very quick! After a minute there was a full jug of fresh camel milk. Of course, my mind wandered to bizarre corners, and I imagined milk chocolate, from camel milk... milk chocolate from goat or sheep milk... true to my area!



A smaller "finjan" (this is a small pot with a spout, used for making black coffee)was also filled for the grandmother. The sone was told to run it over to grandmother's.


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Before I take a break, I have to finish the milk part. The host told us that G-d is very clever. All we have to do is look and think. He told us to look at the foam (who needs a cappaccino milk foamer when you have a nice big camel?)and tell him why G-d made camel's milk so very foamy. We had no answer other than instant cappaccino foam. We were instructed to look around. We looked and saw sand and sand and more sand. It was not a windy day. But still, there was a breeze, and there are windy days and even sand storms. I will leave you with the riddle and return later!

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Fantastic start! The labne, za'tar, and bread (I think this is what in Arabic is called "khubz tannour") look out of this world. And yes, nana (or na'naa', نعناع) is mint, though it can be any kind of mint.

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What does the family do for income? It looks like they've got quite a physical infrastructure there.

Does the foam catch the sand on a windy day, so that the sand doesn't contaminate the milk? You just scrape it off once you're inside?

*sound of Bedouins laughing derisively*

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Well well Dianabanana, you are a smart cookie!!! Exactly correct. The dust and sand would surely sit atop the foam. The foam stabilizes and when you pour the milk it is clean. Taste is more or less like milk. It is supposed to have many nutrients in it and less lactose. Kind of like the difference between goat's milk and cow's milk. A slightly different taste-maybe a bit salty. The income for this family comes from their hospitality tent. They get groups and pupils from schools as learning about the Bedouin culture is part of the curriculum. The kids spend a night there, hear stories, eat the food, sleep in the tent, and go to the Bedouin museum, Jo Alon, if I remember correctly. In general the family is an extended one and usually they provide for each other and share. I often wonder if the kibbutz wasn't a similar sort of set up in a way. In general,they live humbly, off the land. Many live in black tents or half tents.

Many foods get picked from weeds and what grows naturally and as our host mentioned, these are the healthiest. They have no hormones or such and have not been genetically played around with. Sabras, Chubeza etc. I will look these words up in ENglish. I think Sabra is a prickly pear-grows around here a lot on cacti. Chubeza, I think I mentioned in my first foodblog. I cannot recall the word in English!!

I was very impressed by the education the father gave the kids. The kids help a lot, whereas mine seemed spoiled in comparison! They ran immediately at every gentle request. At one point they were all in a pile of rough housing and the 4 year old came out a bit teary. His father called him and asked him "who hurt you?" to which he pointed to the eldest. The father called the eldest, who tentatively approached him. The father motioned for him to sit down next to him. He did so. Then the father pinned him down-in a very light and playful manner, and called the little ones to come and annoy him, which they gleefully did. He laughed the whole time, but got a few smacks from the smaller ones. Everyone laughed and went away smiling. The four year old was very pleased and soon enough they were all at it again.

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I don't know about chubeza, but sabra is cactus fruit/prickly pear (good cognate with Arabic subbair, from the root word for "patience"). In Spanish I believe it's called tuna.

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Here is a pregnant camel of his, at 8 months pregnant. SHe still has another 4 months to go. Our host explained to us that when he first got her, she would not let him milk her. He didn't know what to do so he hit her. And then, in his words, "She was smart, very smart, she said to herself, "okay, now I will show him, he will never get a drop of milk!" "

SOo he got advice from someone who knows better and had to woo her,by giving her dates,pita and all sorts of delicious foods. Now they are good friends and she allows him to milk her.

The host does not have male camels, so he takes his females to someone that has a good male and for 100 shekels, he can have the camel mated. He sells the male babies.

pregnant camel.jpg

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