Pure Gold

Posted on July 27, 2010


One Friday morning a few weeks ago, I arrived at Kfar Manda for my weekly Arabic lesson, and as I climbed the stairs to my teacher, Malek’s apartment, on the porch/roof I noticed piles of wheat laid out on a canvas drying in the sun (where was my camera when I needed it?).  Um Malek (Malek’s mother) had made bulgar – which meant that she had acquired sacks of wheat from her brother – one of the few traditional farmers left in the Galilee – right after the harvest in June, taken it home and immersed it in a huge pot of boiling water for about an hour, then spread the grains out on the rooftop to dry.  After that, she would take the parboiled wheat to the mill in the village to grind it – coarsely for mejadra and finely for kubbe. 

Um Malek always joins us in our lesson at some point and she explained to me the bulgar-making process.  Um Malek is always busy, and her husband, Abu Malek assures me that that is what keeps her vital and healthy.  And last Friday, when I left my lesson, she was sitting at a table plucking the maluhiya leaves off their stems to make the soup that every home in Kfar Manda has for lunch on that day.  But before I could pass by, she reached down to her lap and handed me a bag of bulgar that she had clearly prepared for me to take home. 

I don’t know what this looks like to you, but as far as I’m concerned, it is pure gold.