Izzeldin Bukhari is a vegetarian chef based in Jerusalem’s Old City who works to promote traditional Palestinian food and the impact of Israel’s attempts to appropriate Palestine’s food culture and heritage.
In ‘Colonising the Tastebuds’, our new ten-minute film released in co-operation with Mondoweiss, Izzeldin discusses the difficulties he has in obtaining locally-grown produce (baladi) and how he has to travel through checkpoints to access markets in the West Bank or go directly to farmers to buy Palestinian-grown and organic fruit and vegetables.
The film follows Izzeldin in the Old City, shopping for produce in Ramallah and at a food tasting and speaking event in Bethlehem.
His cooking, as well as the food tours he offers of the Old City through his company Sacred Cuisine, are Izzeldin’s way of supporting Palestine’s struggle for freedom. “Just talking about food can really reflect the depth of Palestinian society and the history of the Palestinian in this land,” he says.
“They [Israel] are using their maximum power, they are using their maximum punishment. They are trying to teach us to give up on being Palestinian. And we are saying ‘I can’t’. Simply, we can’t. It’s in our blood, it’s in our ancestors, it’s the history, the heritage. It comes with every muskhan dish I eat, with every hiwerina I eat, with every waraka dawali. And this is how we continue to be Palestinian.”