The people of Jerusalem are justifiably proud of their ineluctable cuisine
with multifaceted cultural mosaic contributing to a dazzling array of foods
reminiscent of the gastronomical delights of the 1,001 Arabian Nights.
Probably,onefactorcontributingtotheincrediblyrichvarietyoffoodsanddelicacies availableisthatbecausetraditionallyhousewiveswouldnotbeworkingoutsidethehome, they have plenty of time to indulge in culinary experiments, some verging on the fantastic. Wouldaworking(orhousebound)womeninaWesternsocietyhavethetimeor forbearancetositdownandsetaboutscouringorhollowingascoreofzucchinis,without puncturing the skin or wrecking it? And then push the stuffing inside them, one by one? Whatabouttheoneroustaskofkneadingthedoughneededforbakingbaguettesor bagels and their succulent derivatives?Insocietiesdrivenbythedesireto"succeed",andtheconcomitantpushtorush,and getwheretheyareheaded,faster,therecanbenoallowancesmadeforsuchluxuries.Just popaprepackagedfrozendinnerintheoven,orthrowasteakonthebarbie,andcallita feast.InJerusalem,asinotherpartsoftheMiddleEast,thebusinessofpreparingfoodisof more paramount importance. And the results of all those efforts are dazzling indeed.Fromthehumblefareof"falafel"totheroyalbanquetofa"mansaf",tothestuffed pigeons-whichyoucanfindatonlyoneplaceintheOldCityofJerusalem,offeredbythe ArabapprenticewhoinheritedthesecretfromhisGreekpatronandchef-youhavea choice of limitless possibilities. Onethingthatsetsthesefoodsapartisthefactthatthemainingredientsare inevitablyfresh.Inspring,thereisanoverabundanceofsucculentfruitsandnutritious vegetables, trucked in daily from the fertile fields of the growers.(TwospecialtreatsworthyofmentionareJerichoorangesand"mistkawi"apricots, which make only a brief appearance, and are considered a royal luxury).The"souk"(market)isonlyastone'sthrowaway,andifahousewifeneedsanything from there, she an always pop down there or have someone get her what she needs. Dependingonhowstrongyourstomachis,here'samenuofthemostpopulardishes of the Old City of Jerusalem, not in any particular order: some of these are only seasonal.