Saturday, March 3, 2012
By Rochelle Mass
In Acre, by the sea, Yusuf makes it coarse with cracked kernels
crispy as pecans.
A man called Kobi serves it to me smooth as velvet in the
last row of the Tiberias souk.
On the highway, near the number 80 Army Camp they fill the center
with tehini, lace it with olive oil.
The Ahmed brothers, in Afula, run a place with a kosher stamp,
a Rabbi sits at a table near the kitchen inspecting what goes in and out.
The brothers pile whole buds in the center, add bits of parsley
big enough so I recognize the shape of the leaf.
Just past the memorial to fallen fighters, at the Golani junction
I ask for hot fava beans to fill the middle, with paprika sprinkled
over the steam till the surface glows.
On Yermiyahu street in Tel Aviv, my serving arrives ashkarah style
with a full radish, green onion stalk, an egg boiled brown.
No matter the recipe or the service, humus is to be wiped. I tear
pita quickly, twist firmly into the taupe mass, reach for
cracked Syrian olives and diced salads that parade the humus
till the table swoons in peppery sharpness
till pickled aromas challenge the minted tea
till my celebration ends.
(Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Volume 5 – 2003, p. 163
National Council of Jewish Women / New York Section)