Stranger in a Strange Land

A few of you have asked whether I try to eat local when I’m travelling. Absolutely!  I think it’s just plain culinary common sense to eat local when you travel. As I’ve pointed out before, you don’t go to Italy to try the hot dogs.

Plus my food choices impact local farmers and communities, and the environment whether I”m in Brooklyn or the Middle East.

I know, I know – I”m eco-guilty of a lot of travel lately. Here are a couple of pics from Istanbul. The guys in towels are at the airport, FYI:

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And here’s the hammock I bought in El Salvador and sent to Jerusalem:

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Today I was reminded of just how local my local food knowledge really is. I was at the souk (market) in Jerusalem and Ricky asked if I wanted to get some corn. The corn looked quite good, but on reflex I said, “No, corn season is over.”

“It’s just starting here,” he answered with a smile.

“But is it as good as Farmer Ted’s?” I asked a little peevishly, thinking of my New York State CSA farmer’s short growing season compared with Israel’s (but also of how fabulous Ted’s sweet corn was this year).

Another example of how localized my botanical knowledge is: Ask me to name a month for daffodils, and I would unhesitatingly say “April.” But there are daffodils coming up here now in October as the rainy season is just beginning.

So I’m listening and learning, and eating some mighty fine food. Today we stopped by a goat farm in the Judean hills to buy some cheese, and not far from there visited Soreq Cave with its impressive rock formations:

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Afterward, at the souk, I was seduced by the unfamiliarity of yellow pitaya fruit …

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…and raw olives that I intend to cure using my grandfather’s recipe (or my best approximation from memory).

Ricky says he will take me to some olive trees we can shake the fruit from. I’ll use what I remember of my grandmother’s recipe for those. The olive harvest season here runs through November. No olive trees back in Brooklyn – better make the most of them here where they are both local and in season.

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The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes

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