Calendar 2023 - Bread In Palestine

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Wherever your eyes look in Palestine, they will spot a bakery or bread cart. Cities like Jerusalem and Nablus are proud of their bakeries that have maintained an authentic and traditional method of baking for centuries. In honor of this celebrated culinary tradition, we are taking you this year on a journey through the bakeries of Palestine to showcase the rich culture of baking and bread-making in this small, yet diverse, place.

Yes, “man does not live by bread alone,” yet bread is the staple of millions of households in the Middle East; it is eaten with different types of spreads at breakfast, savored as quick takeaway bites or snacks, and is used for a variety of sandwiches and wraps at lunchtime. For lavish dining experiences, types of dough and bread are also baked with different fillings and recipes as main dishes.

The unfortunate experiences of Palestinian people under war, curfews and occupation have increased the importance of baking and bread for the survival of the family at home. Palestinians learned the hard way that if you have wheat, you will survive, hence why many families stock wheat in large quantities, and shops can often be seen selling it in large sacks.

The culture of baking and bread making is also rooted in and symbolizes the Palestinian’s strong relationship and pride in their land; wheat is a symbol of reproduction and resilience. The legendary late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once wrote: وحبوب‭ ‬سنبلة‭ ‬تجف‭ ‬ستملأ‭ ‬الوادي‭ ‬سنابل - “As the seeds of a wheat plant die it will fill the valley with wheat.”

While you browse these attractive baked goods, think about the bakers who start their days at dawn, mixing and kneading for early-rising bread buyers. Think about the parents who rise in the quiet morning hours to make their kids sandwiches for school. Think about the heat and the sweat in the little ancient bakeries where this product of love is produced. Think about a nation making and breaking bread, awaiting freedom.

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