Back in the game: Off the beaten track
I’ve been fortunate to have discovered no few culinary adventures during my work hours. In Australia I managed to find jobs which landed me at the end of train lines and at the door of veritable parallel universes – of culinary, ethnic, and sociological dimensions. My coffee breaks and lunch hours were invariably spent licking my sticky baklava fingers, drinking coffee in the local Ethiopian café or Italian coffee mill, buying pomegranate molasses and contraband shankleesh cheese from my good friend Ahmed…
Here in Israel I don’t have to go too far to find a good, cheap, far-from-healthy-but-ever-so-wholesome feed which can be traced five generations back to its maker’s great-something’s kitchen. Nonetheless it’s always in the far flung places that the best is to be found.
Today’s find was a Turkish spinach and cheese borek in the Petach Tikva industrial area. These stand apart from the ubiquitous and devastatingly uninspiring boreka sold in central bus stations and top-end bakery alike. When the Turkish ones are good they are great - indigestion free, no residual heaviness, but what to do – probably not much better for the arteries. The good stuff is made from crispy phyllo pastry (canola oil rather than marg), served with a hardboiled egg, and tomato puree and s’chug for the dipping.
Today’s roadside feed was thoughtfully presented on a plastic plate (I checked to see if he did such a nice job for the men too and he had). I was pleased as punch to see the vendor’s reaction when I asked for more s’chug –
תעמיס תעמיס, אני לא נראית לך בחורה שעומדת בזה?
[“Heap the hot stuff on, don’t I look like the type of girl who can handle it?”]. He laughed. Apparently not.
I had a good laugh at myself with the workers when they asked why on earth I take photos of food and what does it mean when I say that I like to tell stories about food and the people who make it, serve it and eat it. They aren’t wrong – it is kind of ridiculous. Except that I can’t help but love capturing these moments, it is often as satisfying as the delicacy on my plate – sometimes more. I had some very encouraging feedback over the past few days – one set from someone who knows me and my work well, and whose opinion on many things but especially photography is worth its weight in gold; and another from someone who I don’t know at all but who was very generous in his feedback - and seemed to simply get my photography and what I try to do. Both commented on the warmth and vibrance of my images, and on their evocative nature, and it gave me a push to get back into things after a slightly prolonged recess. I hope to post more frequently, and in the same vein as what I most love – photography that is real, pumping and raw; rough around the edges and served as is, be it at home, in our favourite restaurant or on the side of the road.
Baba|corner of Alexander Yanai and Ben Tzion|Segula, Petach Tikva
[FYI - These images taken with my smart little phone]