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Culinary heritage

Palestinian chef Joudie Kalla’s new book is inspired by what home means to her and how much her culture has to offer – especially in the culinary department

the retreat

The Arabic word baladi, the title of chef Joudie Kalla’s new book, means ‘my home, my land, my country’.

To Kalla, Palestine is all of these things, and she was inspired to share the delicious food that has emerged out of a complex country, with the glue of community and family keeping the traditions alive.

When the state of Israel was created in 1948, thousands of Palestinians left their homes and settled in neighbouring Arab nations, their cooking taking on new influences from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Kalla says writing this book allowed her to ‘look at Palestine anew through different areas and cuisines that change from location to location’, and the recipes she’s chosen to include are inspired by the way her own family cooks. Chapters include ‘Markets and village life’; ‘The bakery’; ‘The fields and earth’; ‘From the river to the sea’ and ‘Fields and orchards’, and the very titles create the idea that Kalla is taking you by the hand and leading you on a special journey into the heart of her heritage.

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