I’m always excited to travel to far off places. Who wouldn’t be? And when I get there, rest assured I’m on the hunt for the food. Plant food. Local markets are my favourite go to spots. No need to wonder why. You can learn quite a lot about people and culture through the food that they grow and eat, and the way it is prepared. These days though, it’s tough. We are living in a global economy and food travels far and the fruit on the stalls at markets is starting to look the same. But, it is always wonderful to experience local produce right where they are grown.
So, I ended up in Israel for a few days and was over myself with excitement to get to visit the ancient city of Jerusalem. It is such a juxtaposition of old and new and a mix of people and faiths. It is a place where churches and synagogues and mosques stand tall and together. This city is rich with so much of our history from centuries past. After touring Jerusalem all day, I ended up in a local food market, and this for me was inevitable. The market stalls were over flowing with dried and fresh fruits, vegetables and spices. Customers passing by, like in any other market around the world, were greeted by traders inviting them to shop. The spices were piled high in big basins and the aroma was captivating. Even if you don't fancy yourself a cook, the experience here would make you want to fill your shopping bags with ingredients. My only disappointment with this visit was the fact that I couldn't bring any of the produce back home to Lagos with me! On the drive back to Tel Aviv, as I ate through my bag of fruit and nuts, all I could think of was how so, so juicy and full of flavour everything was.
Jerusalem was an experience that is now etched in my mind. My heart smiles and my imagination runs wild as ideas of recipes float around in my head.It always intrigues me to see what interesting ingredients people around the globe cook with. I was able to bring back some spices from this trip that I plan to incorporate into a few recipes in the near future.
"JERUSALEM...NO ONE CAN ENTER IT AND GO AWAY UNCHANGED"
~Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel