It’s been raining off and on (mostly on) for about two weeks now and it’s getting a little old. So here is my frustration, vented in haiku form:
You know the rain’s bad
When two umbrellas break in
On Friday, one of the only nice days in the past few weeks, we went on a tour of the Old City with some friends from Rodolfo’s department. Jordash, the husband of a girl in the department, is a Ph.D. student in historical and biblical comparative literature who undertook the mammoth task of giving a “short” summary of more than three thousand years of history to twelve people, mostly scientists.
We visited the Tower of David museum (also called the Citadel, a huge complex built by Herod the Great and rebuilt several times over the centuries that now holds a museum of Jerusalem’s history), the Holy Sepulchre, and the remains of a minor apse of the Nea Ekklesia of the Theotokos, a forgotten pile of stones and rubble that was once part of a huge Byzantine Church. We also ate some delicious hummus and tahina at a place in the Old City. The history of Jerusalem is just fascinating, and I’m learning so much. I’ll be happy to give tours to all of you, our friends and family, when you come visit! Here is a photo of me and Rodolfo at the Tower of David museum.
This week, I happened upon a Kosher McDonald’s.
I never eat at McDonald’s in the U.S.; in fact, I go literally about once a year at most and then joke that I’ve fulfilled my annual quota. But maybe because of homesickness, or temporary insanity, I convinced Rodolfo we should go to one. When we arrived, we realized it was not a kosher McDonald’s after all, because they offered us the option of cheese on our burgers. So it turns out there are two types of McDonald’s restaurants in Israel: kosher ones, and the ones that give you the option of cheese on your burgers. (The Hebrew word for the opposite of kosher is trefah.) AND, the most important difference between kosher McDonald’s and trefah McDonald’s? Ice cream. We celebrated our having found another non-kosher restaurant by sharing a fudge sundae, even though it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit outside. So I guess we’re good on the McDonald’s quota until next year.
Rodolfo has completely fallen in love with a particular Israeli pastry called rugelach:
(Apparently, bees like it, too.)
It’s very similar to a croissant, with dough wrapped around a filling. They’re delicious! Our favorites are the ones with chocolate inside. The name rugelach refers to the fact that they are “rolled.” Learn more about these delicious treats on Wikipedia or view some eye candy with the photos on the website of one of our favorite bakeries in town, Maafa Neeman.
We again have Martha to thank for this week’s delicious dinner recipe: Braised Chicken with Orange and Scallions. We adapted the recipe a bit, since we have such an unreliable oven and we don’t have any good stovetop-to-oven pans either. But it still came out delicious, even though I pretty much had to fight Rodolfo off with a stick to keep him away from the delicious fresh olives long enough to cook the chicken. In other news, we finally found an oven thermometer this week, so we’ll be using the oven more now that we can figure out the temperature! View the recipe.
I may have mentioned before that we do most of our food shopping at the Shuk Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s open-air market.
We have found that some of the best prices to be had are in a little corner of the market where most of the shops are owned by Iraqi Jews. One such example is a man named Eli, who is, as far as I know, the only general-interest shop in the shuk with a Facebook page. (There is also a cute vintage clothing shop with a Facebook page, but they have a decidedly different market than Eli so this is less surprising.) Eli is a very sweet older gentleman, a war veteran with four daughters and eight grandchildren, who immigrated with his family from Amhara in Southern Iraq in 1951, when they opened this little shop. There are signs with the iconic Facebook “F” pasted all over the shop, which sells everything from peanut butter to light bulbs. Last week at his shop I bought two little (kosher) marshmallow treats that are very popular here (I have heard them called Israel’s “cold weather ice cream”), but they are also notoriously fragile. A few weeks ago, I stuck one in my bag and within ten minutes had a gooey marshmallow mess to clean up. But not this week; Eli very kindly asked me in Hebrew to wait a moment while he dug through his shop to find something to protect them. He wrapped them in a small plastic fruit box for me to take home. For two things that cost less than one dollar U.S. to buy! In a country where actual customer service (and simple kindness) is hard to find, especially when the customer doesn’t speak the language, I was very pleasantly surprised by this sweet, softspoken man. Read more about Eli here, or visit his shop’s Facebook page.
And now, for a game! Can you guess what this is a photo of?
Here’s a hint: There will be a blog post about it this week! Leave your guess in the comments section (be as specific as possible), and if you’re the first to guess correctly, you will win a special prize! Have a wonderful week!