An Israeli chef is turning to the Bible for culinary inspiration. There's David's giant-killing formula of smoked wheat, as well as his soul-cleansing hyssop.
Popeye ate his spinach to take on Brutus, but David ate his 'karmel' to take on Goliath. This aspect of the Biblical David/Goliath story is a source of great inspiration for Moshe Basson, executive chef of the Eucalyptus Restaurant in Jerusalem.
"We are using and showing the connection between couscous and the semolina that was served as a vegan offer at the Jewish Temple (in Jerusalem). We will use the freekeh and we will mention that freekeh is the 'karmel' in the Bible, this green, smoked wheat that young David take it as a take-away for his brothers in the battlefield and then he's killing Goliath," Basson said.
And it was David who would later cry out to God in the Psalms. "Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean". Well, hyssop is just what Basson is serving as the basis of his pesto sauce.
"The Bible is not a cooking book, but there is a lot of food in the Bible. So one of the things that is very special and very, very, very biblical is hyssop, 'ezov' or 'za'atar' in Arabic that was the brush of the Israelites; when they're leaving Egypt they're marking the door with the blood of the lamb of the Passover," Basson said.
Basson grew up in Jerusalem and is from a family of Jewish Iraqi immigrants.
Most of the dishes he serves are inspired by foods from the Bible. And that applies even to the desserts. In addition, Basson's food is kosher as it follows biblical dietary laws that govern what Jews may or may not eat.
"Some people will think that biblical food is sort of weird and... but, in most (of) the cases you have to take the adventure of entering to that, because you don't know. But the moment that you are there, it's the food of mothers in the Middle East; mothers and grandmothers in general. Even when the ingredients are strictly biblical, it's still food," Basson said.
More modern ingredients do make an appearance, however, including tomatoes, eggplant, and chocolate. And the customers come from all walks of life, including Muslems and non-religious customers, along with pilgrims from abroad.
True to kosher laws, the menu excludes fish without scales and pigs, but it includes elk, cow udder, guinea fowl, and even locusts.
- Editor:Justine | Source: Agencies
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