Aug 122013

kosher Druze lamb kebabs

I travel to the north several times a year. As the bus rolls up the country, I’ve looked at the Arab and Druze villages covering the Galilee hills and wondered about the people; how they live, what they eat. It looks rural and Arabic, it has an atmosphere of a by-gone day, but I know that the larger towns have community centers, clinics and regional schools.

There is open and free travel to anywhere. All the same, I get the impression that village people tend to stay where they are, especially the women. It’s the men who move around for business purposes, or with the Druze, to serve in the army.

As my cooking has grown to reflect Middle-Eastern flavors,  I’ve come to appreciate regional Arabic foods. But most of my exposure to these foods has come from fabulous cookbooks like those of Claudia Rodin or Yotam Ottolenghi, or from meals featuring ethnic cuisine at kosher restaurants. I never expected to walk safely in a Druze or Arab village, much less to cook and eat in one. But a few weeks ago, I did.

image druze street

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Aug 122012


Reader, it’s been too long. Don’t think I’ve forgotten you. It’s just been….life.

Soon after my return from Canada, my husband became seriously ill, with hospitalization, medication, aggravation – the whole megillah. He’s still not entirely well, but at least he’s home and able to be alone for some hours at a time.

What happened? Well, Husband dehydrated in the extraordinary heat wave Israel’s been experiencing this past month. Dried out to the point of kidney damage. We’re lucky he’s still here. And if anyone feels like saying a quick prayer for him, or just sending good energy our way, his name is Yosef  Dov ben Mina.

I have many many things to tell you and many photos to share – in a few days, when my computer gets fixed. Somehow a virus got past my antivirus programs and firewall. I’m working on a backup laptop without access to my recent photos – sigh. But all that’s small potatoes compared to the scare we just went through as a family. I’m only grateful that Husband is  recovering.

My vacation in Calgary has floated back to the past. Still, let me offer you  glimpses of things I enjoyed there, whose photos I saved on blessed Flickr before the computer crash.

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Jul 242012


The Stampede festival in Calgary, Canada, that is.

Every July the entire city of Calgary takes a ten-day vacation from ordinary life and transforms itself into the Wild West. Putting aside mundane concerns, the townsfolk put on big white hats, proud to show their cattle ranch origins, or at least, their fantasies of cowboy origins, and go out to celebrate with a loud “Yahoo!”

This year, Calgary was more exuberant than ever because it was celebrating its 100th Stampede festival. The Wikipedia entry gives a full picture of how the city gives itself over to this Western dream every year.

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