Izzeldin Bukhari is a chef based in Jerusalem’s Old City who works to promote traditional Palestinian food and the impact of Israel’s attempts to appropriate Palestine’s food culture and heritage.
In ‘Colonising the Tastebuds’, a ten-minute film made by Baladi – Rooted Resistance, Izzeldin discusses the difficulties he has in obtaining locally-grown produce (baladi) and how he has to travel through checkpoints to access markets in the West Bank or go directly to farmers to buy Palestinian-grown and organic fruit and vegetables.
The film follows Izzeldin in the Old City, shopping for produce in Ramallah and at a food tasting and speaking event in Bethlehem.
His cooking, as well as the food tours he offers of the Old City through his company Sacred Cuisine, are Izzeldin’s way of supporting Palestine’s struggle for freedom. “Just talking about food can really reflect the depth of Palestinian society and the history of the Palestinian in this land,” he says.
“They [Israel] are using their maximum power, they are using their maximum punishment. They are trying to teach us to give up on being Palestinian. And we are saying ‘I can’t’. Simply, we can’t. It’s in our blood, it’s in our ancestors, it’s the history, the heritage. It comes with every muskhan dish I eat, with every hiwerina I eat, with every waraka dawali. And this is how we continue to be Palestinian.”
Baladi – Rooted Resistance
Baladi – Rooted Resistance is a media project by writer Sandra Guimarães and photojournalists Anne Paq, Craig Redmond, and Ahmad Al-Bazz. It tells the stories of Palestinians resisting Israeli colonization and occupation with seeds, wild foraged plants and homegrown vegetables — Palestinians who believe food politics and food sovereignty intersects with the struggle for self-determination and freedom. To learn more visit: baladirootedresistance.com.