Women in Bethlehem: good food, encounter, and the beauty in little things
5 women, some of them are veiled, some others are not. They are mothers, Christian and Muslim mothers together, and mothers who are learning how to cook. This is the purpose of the new project Association pro Terra Sancta in Bethlehem, within a larger three-year program “Women, young people and old people: we support the weakest of Bethlehem” funded by the Italian Episcopal Conference.
The cooking course is made up of nine classes of about two hours, with a local chef and a qualified nutritionist.
“Many of these women have become mothers when they were very young,” Chef Issa explains “They never learned how to cook or maybe some are able to cook, but the foods they prepare for their children are not healthy at all.”
For this reason each lesson provides the choice of a theme food. During the first half hour the nutritionist explains the nutritional values of the food and then everyone rushes to the kitchen to cook!
“During this lesson, we learned everything about the eggplants” says Nadera, a 30 year old mother of 4 children, “I did not think you could do so many things with just one type of food … even the dessert!”
“It’s hard to be a mother! I never know what to cook for my two girls” Odette, says “It always ends up that I prepare the same things everyday”.
In addition to introducing the mothers to a proper nutrition, the course also aims to help participants to spare some money on food, by teaching how to cook good food with simple elements. In a place where economic resources are very limited, learning to save is crucial.
At the end of the lesson, Chef Issa also teaches them how to compose the plates. “While around us there is tension and disorder everywhere, to see the beauty even in a flat composition can bring some serenity.” The women in Bethlehem are given another great opportunity to start over.