Reflections on Jordan

My two weeks in Jordan gave me some significant insight into myself.  Jordanians are possibly the most food obsessed people on the planet.  And my father is Jordanian, so it’s no wonder then, that I go on and on about food; it’s in my genes.
Jordanians are either eating, talking about eating or thinking about what they are gong to eat.  To this end, the provenance of their food is very important.  Not in the conscious way that it is in Europe in the minds of the nutritionally educated but in an inherent instinctual way.

Most things are organic because the land is rich enough to produce unaided and because industrial farming is, for the most part, not present.

A lot of families have an olive grove somewhere, or maybe a few trees or perhaps know of a few trees that they can plunder so that they can take their olives to a communal press and have their own olive oil made.  (And here I thought my mother’s friend from Crete was extreme, eschewing supermarket olive oil because ‘they put stuff in it” in favour of giant cans she would bring back to Athens with her from her village in Chania).

I risked paying a fine for excess luggage and lugged back a 3kg bag of Terra Rossa, hand-picked, extra virgin olive oil (0.8 % acidity).

If you want chicken, you go to the butchers, point at the live specimen which is quickly and efficiently dispatched to chicken heaven.  

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Abu Jbara, Humus Specialists, Amman

I like Michelin star restaurants, I do.  In a few cases, I even love them.  But you know what I like even better?  Places that specialize in one thing.

Al Jbara is a restaurant in Amman, Jordan that specializes in Humus.  They do Lebanese Humus, with whole chickpeas mixed in. Breakfast humus with chickpeas and bread folded through to keep you going the whole day. And my favorite, Jordanian humus with just a few chickpeas strewn on top and a magic sauce.  As far as I can tell, the magic sauce consists of grated spicy green peppers in lemon juice with a little bit of garlic and salt.  One teaspoonful transforms the smooth silky humus from just “Wow! This is good!” To “Holy chickpeas batman, this humus is rocking my world!”

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