Confession time: I’ve been back from Israel for a while now. By a while, I mean months and months. If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ve noticed that I haven’t written much. In all honesty, I’m still processing everything that happened. It feels like a happy blur. One of the amazing things about taking a Birthright trip is that, for ten days, you are completely immersed in nonstop activities. That is also one of the exhausting things.
For a few days after I returned home, I was in a daze. Part of me felt like I had been gone forever, even though it was just ten days. It was bizarre. For ten days, I was part of a pack. There was no autonomy. We were told when to eat, when to sleep, and where we would be for every minute of every day.
When our tour guide, Deena, said goodbye to our group at the check-in counter of Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, we were a little shell-shocked at the complete independence. Making choices seemed overwhelming.
Once I returned home, I missed Israeli food immediately. I am a person who loves food and loves to eat, and this trip was revolutionary. Let me just tell you this. On our first morning in Israel, we went to a dairy farm and breakfasted on a variety of delicious goat cheeses. Israel Experts, our tour organizer, had arranged for Janna Gur to speak. She told us all about Israeli foods and introduced a new concept: hummus is not just a snack, but a lifestyle.
Hummus? The dip? A lifestyle?
Yes. You can’t just eat any hummus from a grocery container and expect perfection. True hummus, Israeli hummus, starts with the best tahini and perfectly warm chickpeas. It might be classically prepared, with a smear of garlic, olive oil, and parsley on top. Or it might be more adventurous, topped with ground lamb, eggplant, black beans, or any number of ingredients. Regardless, hummus is something that Israelis take seriously the way that people from the US take Black Friday shopping seriously. It is a whole culture based upon food. Maybe this is why I felt at home immediately.
I’m still deciding how to present the trip. Instead of doing a day-by-day breakdown, I think I’m going to focus on places that we visited and adventures undertaken. Since this was a culinary trip, you can expect lots of food to make an appearance.
Be on the lookout…