FIDAA I A ABUHAMDIYA e SILVIA CHIARANTINI
Pop Palestine is not only a cookbook explaining how to prepare tasty dishes, but also a travel diary which tells about the life and history of a people, through the emotions of four florentine friends travelling around Palestine with a special guide: Fidaa, a young chef and expert blogger of Palestinian cuisine. A journey along the roads, between pots and pans, from the south to the north of Palestine, starting from Hebron and wandering through Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jericho, Nablus and Jenin. A chapter is devoted to each of these cities, in which the recipes and the preparation of several dishes are shown, after having tasted them in homes, restaurants or by street vendors.
It’s a dense and fascinating reportage to differently approach the culture and history of the Palestinian people, through the stories of who live there and the impressions of a group of friends in trip. A path of images of steaming dishes and crowded markets; a path of scents of spices, of cardamom coffee and freshly baked pita with za’atar; a vivid and coloured path which helps returning to “normal” the stories of life under occupation.
Pop Palestine is the testimony of those which wanted to tell and share their traditions: Palestinian women and men keeping alive their history … and
opening their own kitchen.
From the foreword by Daniele de Michele, Don Pasta:
“This book is truly immersed in the stories so that the recipes represent a moment of peace, a peace before the storm; the sweet, melancholy and poetic storm that these adventurous fellow travellers have given us.
Speaking of Palestine is a nonsense, no one does mention it in these terms, few think to consider it a tourist destination, no one imagines that there is a life after the war, that there is a kitchen that is not a cookhouse”
More than 60 collected recipes, including:
The Maqlouba or “the up-side-down”, that is a single course made with rice, vegetables and meat, prepared for special occasions or when you have many guests; the Waraq Dawali, curious stuffed vine leaves that take a lot of time to be prepared but just a moment to be eaten; the famous Falafel, that if prepared according to this detailed recipe by a cook of Jenin, will be a delicious and easy to do dish, with no nasty tricks while frying; the Hummus, a typical chickpea cream that chef Fidaa prepares with a special ingredient; the Mutabbal, an exquisite aubergine cream to be prepared according to the traditional method of smoking; the Mana’ish za’atar, a focaccia topped with a typical Palestinian spicy sauce made from thyme; the Labneh or strained yogurt that chef Fidaa uses to flavor with herbs and spices; the Knafeh, the typical dessert of Nablus in its original version, but with some suggestions to prepare it at home with easily available ingredients; the Ka’k, semolina cookies that, in Palestine, Muslims prepare in occasion of the Eid ul-Fitr or at the end of Ramadan, while Christians during Easter celebration.
Pop Palestine is born from a friendship between Silvia Chiarantini, an Italian interested in
Palestinian food culture and history, Alessandra Cinquemani, a well known and talented Italian
photographer based in Florence and Chef Fidaa a well known Palestinian chef and food blogger living in Palestine.
Pop Palestine is also a documentary – as the cookbook it’s about a friends’s journey from the southern end of the West Bank to its northernmost tip, collecting recipes from families, chefs, and street food vendors.
Pop Palestine travel documentary won the Audience Award at last year’s Montelupo International Independent Film Festival (MIIFF) in Tuscany and was selected at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival. American audiences will get the opportunity to view the film at the Boston Palestine Film Festival on the 22th October.