The Falastin Cookbook – Culinary Agitprop

Falastin: A Cookbook by

Coming April 2020: A ground-breaking Middle Eastern cookbook from Sami Tamimi, the co-author of OTTOLENGHI: THE COOKBOOK and JERUSALEM, and co-founder of the innovative Ottolenghi delis, and Tara Wigley, contributing author of OTTOLENGHI SIMPLE, NOPI: THE COOKBOOK, PLENTY MORE and SWEET.FALASTIN: A COOKBOOK is a culinary love letter to Palestine, the land and its people; an evocative collection of over 110 unforgettable recipes and stories.https://www.penguin.com.au/books/falastin-a-cookbook-9781785038723

Posted by Penguin Books Australia on Thursday, November 7, 2019

Flying off the shelves these days is the new cookbook titled “Falastin.” Written by Sami Tamimi, an Israeli born Muslim chef, it’s a companion to the bestselling Jerusalem cookbook penned by Tamimi’s buddy and partner Israeli culinary superpower Yotam Ottolenghi.

I don’t have an issue with the recipes. If he’s anything like his famous friend, Tamimi’s cooking should be second to none. What is troubling is the political agenda baked into this book.

As its title suggests, Falastin is a polemic for the Palestinian narrative. Where is  “Falastin”? Tamimi says it’s in the West Bank and Gaza strip are area roughly the President’s size elect Biden’s home state of Delaware.   But that’s compressed Falastin shrunken due to the unnamed Israeli oppressor.

In Tamimi’s alternative take on Middle Eastern geopolitics, the real “Falastin” spans from the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, north to the Galilee and the coastal cities of Haifa and Akka, inland to Nazareth, and then south to Hebron and the coastal Gaza Strip. So where do Israel’s nearly 7 million Jews reside? That’s not made clear. Hey, this is a cookbook.

As Joan Peters demonstrated in the groundbreaking history of the Middle East “From Time Immemorial,” today’s Palestinians were immigrants to this land arriving here on the heels of the 19th and early 20th-century halutzim who were making this previously barren land bare fruit.

Back then, they called themselves Arabs, and their dominant ideology was Pan Arabism – a unity of all Muslim peoples. Ironically before 1948, it was the Jews of the Holy Land who called themselves Palestinians.

In Tamimi’s world, the Palestinians are gentle peace-loving folk whose primary interest is their stomachs—they people love nothing more than a good humous

As one would expect, Tamimi complains loudly about checkpoints and other difficulties his people face. As to terrorism, the reason the Israeli regime has clamped down on them, he has nothing to say.

With the present US administration eager to push the so-called two-state solution, Tamimi’s Falastin may soon become reality. Given the disastrous results of unilateral Israeli Gaza withdrawal, that is a terrifying prospect. Large and hardbound as it is, the Falastin cookbook won’t shelter us against rockets. END

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author who writes from the Judean Hills.
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