Children's Literature - Judy ChernakBeautiful photos enhance this appealing title, which is part of the "Food and Festivals" series. Starting with a map of Israel, with shaded areas appropriately captioned as "where government is shared between Israelis and Palestinians," the book progresses to the main types of foods raised and used in Israel--and thereupon to a category that had me stumped--grains and pulses. Pulses? Luckily, the glossary in the back supplied "the seeds of certain vegetable crops such as peas, beans, and lentils" so that my brain could go to "Oh yes! Chickpeas for the felafel, Israel's national food!" After that, the going was easy: an Arab family harvesting olives, kibbutzniks raising poultry ("Israelis eat more poultry per person than anyone else in the world"), a Bedouin woman making pita bread. Then on to the holidays! Passover, a Bar Mitzvah as well as a Bat Mitzvah, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah are featured, and there are customs and traditions along with menus and recipes. I particularly liked the inclusion of the tradition of cheese at Hanukkah, along with the usual latkes and doughnuts, to commemorate the story of Judith, "...a brave Jewish woman who fed lots of cheese to an enemy general. This made him thirsty, so he drank a great deal of wine. When he was drunk...Judith cut off his head" thereby creating a victory for her beleaguered people and the famed Maccabees. While many festivals are omitted, this is a very nice sampling and gives a colorful view of the "Many peoples, many foods" of this tiny but legendary nation.
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