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Food and Recipes

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Showing 101 - 120 from 125 entries

> THE OLIVE TREE IN PALESTINE: characteristics and...
> The Palestinian Olive Oil Industry
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> Kenafe recipe - Nablous
> Fasting and funeral - Eid al-Adha
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> Food preparation during the first Intifada
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> Gaza's specialty: Hot pepper and fish
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page 6 from 7
submitted by Arab Educational Institute

Thyme as food

Muhawi and Kanaana: "Thyme is a component of za'ater, which may be considered the Palestinian national dish. The herb, together with other herbs as well as solid ingredients such as roasted wheat and garbanzo beans, is grounded into a fine power. Bread is dipped in olive oil and then into the za'ater, all being accompanied by fresh green vegetables. Although this meal is usually eaten for breakfast, it forms part of the staple diet in the Palestinian household."

Crowfoot and Baldensperger: "Every Palestinian knows za'tar, the little grey green marjoram with the fragrant smell and masses of tiny white flowers, growing as commonly on rocks and terrace walls. It is used from one end of the country to the other as a spice or condiment and has some repute too, as a medicine."

Thyme (za'tar) and hyssop

Crowfoot and Baldensperger: "Za'tar is most probably the Hyssop of the Bible. This is generally accepted by botanists in Palestine."

"[In the time of the Bible] Hyssop was used for sprinkling blood, cleansing, and unclean persons. Solomon's plant-lore extended 'from the cedar that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall.' The cedar stands for the infinitely great, and the hyssop for the infinitely small."

"The strongest argument in favour of za'tar [as being similar to Hyssop] is that it is used as hyssop by the Samaritans in the Passover ritual until this day [1930s]."

"It has often been remarked during the controversy [about the similarity between Za'tar and Hyssop] that, after all, the Hyssop of the Ancients was of medicinal value and Za'tar is a condiment. Could a plant, for instance, of which the Epistle of Barnabas says "be also who has pain in his flesh is cured by the foulness of the hyssop" be possibly used as a condiment?" In reply to this one may say that most of our present day condiments were formerly used as drugs. Pepper and mustard are an acquired taste, and so no doubt is Za'tar."

Special folk uses of Za'atar

Crowfoot and Baldensperger: "Za'tar played a role in the realm of magic: 'Who for forty days eats powdered dried leaves of Za'tar fasting can be harmed by no serpent.' Now there is a very ancient belief that Wild Marjorams cured the bitings and the stings of venomenous beasts ...."

"[Za'tar] is said to be excellent for perfumes, especially Eau de Cologne."

El-Ali mentions the following proverb: "Powdered thyme and oil lead to the prosperity of the home."


Geries El-Ali, Bethlehem: The Immortal Town, Bethlehem, 1991.

Grace Crowfoot and Louise Baldensperger, From Cedar to Hyssop: A Study in the Folklore of Plants in Palestine, The Sheldon Press, London, 1932.

J.E. Hanauer, The Holy Land: Myths and Legends, 1996 by Senate, Random House, London, first published in 1907 as "Folklore of the Holy land" by the Sheldon Press, London.

Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana, Speak Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian-Arab Folktales, Cambridge University Press 1989.

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