Bethlehem: Beautiful Resistance Recipes

31-12-2017: The secret to making hearty hot soups, tasty main courses and delicious Palestinian desserts are contained in a new cookbook titled “Bethlehem: Beautiful Resistance Recipes”.

The book authors, Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour and Manal Odeh, collected recipes from the Aida refugee camp with the aim of giving interested outsiders a taste of daily life in Palestine.  The recipes have been passed down through the generations, helping to preserve Palestinian heritage and identity.

Dr. Abdelfattah, who is also the founder and General Director of the Alrowwad Society for Culture and Arts at the Aida Camp in Bethlehem, believes that the Palestinian cuisine faces challenges as many popular foods are threatened with disappearing from the Arab table, especially those that are connected to the land and the heritage.

The Palestinian writer and author said, “The popular foods that were produced by Palestinian grandparents and parents are still being passed on to today’s children. These foods act as an historical extension of Palestine as the food is grown throughout the seasons.” Dr Adbelfattah explained, “Food is our heritage and our culture. These foods are from the homeland, from Palestine.”

The book’s co-author, Amanal Awda meanwhile emphasized the need to teach, to prepare and introduce Palestinian cuisine, especially since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza prevented the making of many popular Arab recipes.

The authors believe that many foods and meals with historical roots and links to the land, have fallen victim to Israeli piracy, they accuse Israel of attempting to claim Arab recipes as their own, due to the struggle for existence and Judaization and distortion of identity.

Bethlehem: Beautiful Resistance Recipes, includes popular Palestinian recipes such as bread, pastries, salads, vegetables and a variety of interesting ways to cook popular Palestinian food.  Instructions for cooking dishes such as mansaf, macloba and msakhan are presented in a modern way.  Cooking this food is an expression of the pulse of life of the Palestinian people in the face of adversity.

The cookbook manages to transfer the heritage and secrets of Palestinian food preparation in an easy and simple way. It aims to preserve and fortify Palestinian
flavors, protect them from extinction and thwart attempts by Israeli cuisine to pirate Palestinian food.

It’s message to the Western community is that the heritage, culture and identity of the Palestinian people can help be preserved through Palestinian popular cuisine.  During the Israeli occupation there has been a campaign to ‘Judaize’ hummus, falafel and msakhan as Israeli dishes.

The book was launched in the United Kingdom, Britain and Scotland on the eve
Christmas celebrations. It follows shortly after the controversial US President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem would be the capital of the occupation.

The Herald Scotland newspaper described Bethlehem: Beautiful Resistance Recipes as one of the best cookbooks of 2017.

The proceeds of this book will be used to support the Alrowwad Society for
Culture and Arts to develop the skills of young people, women and children in Aida camp.