Secrets of Syrian Kibbeh

“Feminism was not among the considerations in the invention of kibbeh,” Doram Gaunt writes in Ha’aretz. “The profile of women bending for hours and days at a time over large tubs, stuffing with agile motions a meat mixture into balls of moist wheat bulgar, is not a portent of women’s liberation.

“Grandma Batya, who imported the delicacy from Damascus to Tel Aviv, and then to Givatayim, was not bothered by such questions. The axiom, which was as clear to her as sunrise in the morning, was that the crispy, brown, fried oval balls that conceal a wonderful filling of succulent meat and pine nuts can only be prepared by women. And not just any women, but only women from the Eastern ethnic groups. When her son married Rachel, an Ashkenazi woman of Hungarian origins, she taught her how to cook Syrian food so that her son would not die of hunger. But making kibbeh? It’s simply impossible, despite all the good will.”

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