Out of the north, a crowdsourced cookbook rises
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Out of the north, a crowdsourced cookbook rises

Food guide Paul Nirens sets out to publish ‘The Galilean Kitchen,’ bringing the region’s unique cooking to foodies worldwide

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Wrapping grape leaves with Galileat, the Galilean cooking workshop experience that is embarking on a crowdsourcing-funded cookbook (Courtesy Galileat)
Wrapping grape leaves with Galileat, the Galilean cooking workshop experience that is embarking on a crowdsourcing-funded cookbook (Courtesy Galileat)

The unique demographics of northern Israel, where Jews, Arabs and Druze live side by side in the hilly Galilee, has made the area an ideal spot for cooking workshops, foraging trips and meals that meld the three cultures.

Now those slaving away in kitchens anywhere else may soon be able to emulate the unique flavors found by northern foodie Paul Nirens, who is putting together his first cookbook, an English-language collection of recipes, stories and culinary journeys from Galileat, his northern Israel company.

It’s starting out as a crowdsourcing Indiegogo project, with Nirens, co-writer Ruth Nieman and photographer Neil Mercer aiming to raise $25,000 to produce, publish and distribute the book.

“We’re aiming to showcase Galilean cuisine, bringing together the authentic flavors of the Galilee and the stories of the local women who are passing down the recipes for sinye, majadara and hubeza,” said Nirens.

Those are some of the authentic meat and vegetable recipes cooked in the homes of Nirens’ Galilean culinary colleagues during the Galileat jaunts, in which both local and foreign tourists get a taste of the traditional Arab kitchen.

Galileat founder Paul Nirens and cookbook author Ruth Nieman will co-write the Galileat cookbook (Courtesy Galileat)
Galileat founder Paul Nirens and cookbook author Ruth Nieman will co-write the Galileat cookbook (Courtesy Galileat)

The idea behind Nirens’ Galileat was to expose Galilean culture, and offer an opportunity to his Arab hosts to earn money for their culinary expertise.

Galileat’s Indiegogo campaign is offering first edition cookbooks as some of the prizes for the crowdsourcing campaign, as well as zucchini corers, that elemental kitchen tool for anyone planning on coring and stuffing zucchini with herb-flecked rice.

There are other prizes as well, including Galileat cooking workshops, local spice mixes and olive oil beauty products, made by other womens’ organizations that aim to promote local, cottage industries in the Galilee.

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