Sababa?

I am not sure if these bits of my writing about cookbooks help anyone else to choose what to get, what to use, what to read, but for me this project has proven to be enlightening. I have so many books that I, of course, have no time to read, and writing these notes allowed me to understand which books I have to go back to and which I need to open immediately because I just remembered something that I saw there a long while ago, and want to make it right now. Not sure if people have these urges to cook something right this minute, but I do, and quite often. Funny, isn’t it?

Sababa, a funny word by itself that comes from the Arabic ‘tzababa’ (excellent) got to mean so many different things revolving around something like ‘cool’ in the modern Israeli slang, in our context means the name of the book by Adeena Sussman.

I don’t remember now why I wanted this book. Possibly just because of the catchy name (great marketing technique), possibly because Michael Solomonov wrote an intro, or just because of the beautiful pictures. But then I started to read it, and something spoke to me. I kind of pictured myself in Adina’s place (except my shuk would be, of course in Jerusalem) when she wrote:

In a city full of night owls, I am among the earliest rises.
…. on mornings like this, just after the light begins to drift in
through the wispy shades, the city feels like it belongs to me. So
I leave my husband sleeping and sneak out of the bedroom….. and
make my way…. to the Carmel Market, know in Hebrew as Shuk HaCarmel,
or, quite simply, the shuk.

This book reminds me of Israel itself, slow at times, fast at times. Things that one can make in a jiffy next to those that have to be sitting in the oven for 3-4 hours for optimal taste. You can almost feel that it was written by an American who loves Israel so much that they decided to move there for good.

Maybe I am just envious.

I’ve made a few things from the book like the braised cabbage or my favorite persimmon, goat cheese, and pecan salad, and I want to make more. It is a feel-good book, like a friend.

For those who are just starting their cooking journeys, of course one recipe-one picture approach is very helpful.

Part of my family is coming from Europe soon for a visit, and I am hoping to cook some things that will be exotic for them and so homey for me. Stay tuned!

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