by Marion Nestle
Feb 18 2013

A Cookbook from Gaza? Yes, indeed.

Occasionally, a cookbook fits into the food politics genre, proving once again that food and cooking are entry points into the most important political issues of the day.  Take a look at:

Laila El-Haddad & Maggie Schmitt.  The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey.  Just World Books, 2012.

The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey

We may know the Gaza strip as the contested territory along the southern edge of the eastern Mediterranean but, as Nancy Harmon Jenkins’s foreword to this book points out, “Gaza was an important station on the spice route…this patch of territory is…a living legacy of the refugees who flocked here, driven from their homes in the north and east.”   Judging from this book, its food is pretty terrific and I can’t think of a more delicious entry point into the politics of the Middle East.

And for more information about the book, click here.

  • Interesting post! I’ve never seen a cookbook from Gaza but sounds like a good way to spice up the diet! Thanks

  • I read your books and I love your blog but I find something wrong in this. Since 2007 Israel keeps the Gaza Strip under a very strict blockade, including food items, with calculated number of calories Gaza’s residents would need to consume to avoid malnutrition. Not many USA’s citizens are aware of these facts. Food Politics indeed!

    By the way: the Gaza Strip is NOT a “contested territory”. The UN view Israel as a de facto occupying power in the Gaza Strip. Since the 2005 disengagement, Israeli ground incursions into the Gaza Strip have taken place nearly every week.

  • Hey, Angelo! The Gaza District’s people also have a rich and distinctive culinary heritage and considerable ongoing resilience and resourcefulness. This book celebrates all those things– and deals honestly with the politics of their current food system. Check out the book’s web-page: … and preferably, also buy the book!

  • Helena, no doubt about Gaza’s culinary heritage, resilience and the importance of the book. I’ve been living over there for years. However one cannot present such a book out of its dreadful context making it miraculously disappear.

  • Maybe read the book before you make such judgments about ‘taking it out of context’, Angelo?

  • Wow very interesting. I would love to check that out. Rich in history, politically AND gastronomically. Excellent.