Table by Tammy
Our gastronomic culture is a blend of Middle Eastern, and Continental Italian with dishes having Arab-sounding names, while others are very Italian or Spanish.
Spiced with cinnamon, allspice, caraway, parsley, basil and rosemary, oregano, anise, fennel, distilled orange blossom, scented Geraneoum oil essence or water, Luban (GuarGum) almonds, olives, oranges, dates, figs, and lots of grains.
Share some recipes of many to celebrate Jewish Libyan Cuisine and the fabulous flavors of my youth.
AFRICA & Its Mystique it’s greatness
I can only speak from my experience of the life I live in North Africa Tripoli, Libya.
Africa always will be in the beat of my heart, as the drums once beating of freedom, today lost to its indigenous people, of time in memorial.
To be precise. To most of the world Africa has been a 3rd world country, What many see as fascinating about Libya is the nature, culture, history, and archaeology, and yet many crowns added to their coffers and stripped it of all its land and most of its soul, but not for me I have learned there the value of life, of a community of friendship and human ethics
Unfortunately, I was expelled from the land I considered mine as much as Israel is.
Jews, Muslims, and Catholics were living side by side, with the unwritten rule to respect each other, and also when to keep to ourselves.
In 1967 many miles away, the 6 days war happened, involving Israel and its Neighboring Arab states, and thus creating sparks of resentment toward us, citizens not at all involved, and far away.
The Jewish Communities of Libya became refugees and scattered around the world.
For most Italy was the choice of the first stop, for others was their final stop.
My family lived in a Refugee camp for an entire year then transferred to Rome, and after a total stay of 4 years we decided to make aliyah to Israel, we live there except for the free-spirited me. I married an American and have been living in Los Angeles since 1973.
In Africa, I had a deep sense of natural foods, and a real experience to shop from horse or mule carts vendors who passed our street to bring a daily freshness to our doors. Fresh daily catch of sea fish, I love bluefin Tuna, I was taught how to clean it and cook it as well.
I took the chicken to the shohet (Rabbinical Slaughterer trained) to shohet a chicken and I also witnessed the process; afterward, I knew how to feather out and also eviscerate it to kosher and cook it. This process also taught me to respect my animals for their gift, and to use and not abuse them. Never to waste, and how to appreciate what we had, as a gift of the land.
I have learned the communal responsibility for the less fortunate, to care and adopt, bring Shabbat meals, generate and chip to funds for upcoming bar Mitzvahs and weddings, because all were responsible one to the other, it was an unwritten law.
We are the glorious legacy of the past and a conduit to a better future for the next generation
While listening to music as varied as Tosca and Donna Immobile to the Beatles, Gianni Morandi, Oum Kultum, Farid El Etrash or AbdulWahab, times the Beatles, Modugno, Edith Piaff or Begnamino Gigli, Elvis Presley. From Eastern Oud to frenetic Guitar
Back to the food, because of the so many conquerors from Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Moors, Spain, Turks, Italy, and Britain. we have accumulated a vast menu such from couscous to pasta and pizza or shakshuka and felfelUciumah
From Bestiles to borequetitas and to brik similar and yet different.
Defina (Buried) of old hidden Shabbat food in the Canun a clay with coals than will keep food hot throughout the Shabbat, to match all other Jewish ways, but with different names
A special way to brew coffee as Turks
A tomato paste Spanish inheritance via Mexico conquest filled menus to brighten our meals
Locally grown Barley Wheat, Alpha alpha, Olives, Oranges, parsley Basil and Oregano
Grapes and much more kept us healthy in what today is called Mediterranean Diet.
Who Knew, we would be so popular?
January 21, 2007