Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Ibrik Championship

'Ibrik' is a  turkish word referring to a little hand hammered copper pot used for making black turkish coffee. This pot (holds one or two servings) usually comes with a long brass, wooden or ceramic handle, and a spout through which the liquid can be poured.  The arabs and the israelis call it 'fengian', the Greek, 'briki'.
Coffee , as we all know, crosses borders and cultures, and it's always an interesting, loved subject.

ibrik pots and adequate tiny coffee cups

There's a coffee shop in the center of my hometown which keeps a stand outside, near the entrance, with some twenty-five such pots. ( it looks a bit like a Christmas tree with ornaments).At first, I thought it's just a gimmick to attract customers, but no, the pots are for sale, and for quite a high price.

closer view  of the ibrik pots and the tiny coffee cups

I always keep an ibrik in my kitchen; mine is made of stainless steel, not of copper, and it's not hand hammered. 
I rarely drink turkish coffee these days, but I sometimes make it for guests who love this kind of black liquid.

I put the three-four components:cold water, coffee, sugar and or milk into the ibrik; place the little pot on the stove's lowest fire and wait until foaming begins. The foam gets put into the tiny coffee cups. I wait again till boiling  starts for a second time, and immediately (without boiling) remove the ibrik to serve the coffee in the little cups. Turkish coffee is being served with a glass of cold water to enjoy the coffee better.

It may sound simple,  but to make good, genuine turkish coffee is an art not easily mastered, and certainly not by anyone. There are annual regional and national organized contests in many parts of the world, and there is a world wide contest named 'the ibrik championship'(see its logo in the header above). It's considered one of the most fascinating individual contests.

Last year's golden medal (competition held in Budapest, Hungary) went to a young India born contestant, working in Dubai. This year's champion is Slava Babych of Ukraine.
Here's a little youtube video with Slava.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


During the last days, we had Shavuot feast.  This 'Feast of the weeks' as it is often called, has both religious and agricultural significance. It celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, and the concluding of seven weeks of  grain harvest. 

It's an enjoyable holiday, and there are lots of festivals and happenings hosted by agricultural settlements (kibbutzim and moshavim) , agricultural schools, and other places.

posters on agricultural themes 

In  May 2011, I attended a big Shavuot happening at the Green Village (Hakfar Hayarok), not far from my hometown. I then wrote a little post and created a video about it (please type Shavuot in the search box and enjoy!).

On this holiday it is customary to eat dairy products. Cottage cheese - white, soft and creamy -  is my favorite all year round, not only on Shavuot. 
It is said that the late president Gerald Ford used to eat the same meal each day - cottage cheese with a dollop of... ketchup.

the milk giver (cow) doesn't look happy

 white, soft, spreadable cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is offered with different fat levels: low-fat (1%), medium -fat(3%,5%), high fat (7%, 9%..)
I usually buy the 1% fat, 62 cal. per 100g. One cup (250g) provides 157 calories. Good for weight-watchers.

Tnuva 1% fat , 250g cup - my favorite

It should be emphasized that this product is packed with nutrients (protein, vitamins, minerals), can be eaten by itself, or mixed with spaghetti, used in pancakes and various desserts, added to veggie salad, fruit salad etc...A very versatile food item! Put in a warm pita pocket with veggies - it becomes a delicious snack!

pita pockets straight from the taboon oven

plate with cottage cheese

The price of the cottage cheese is of national importance as the latter is considered staple food. In 2011, there were fierce protests and calls by consummers to boycott Tnuva (the main dairy complex) and those supermarkets that had raised the price making "unreasonable profit."  It worked. The price was lowered and placed under supervision.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Heart to Heart


The other day, I read an article in the newspaper about a well-known cardiologist, expert in the angioplasty procedure (opening of blocked arteries ). The article (which also included a short interview with him) was full of praise for his skills  and humanity.

What caught my eye, though,  was the number of people undergoing the above procedure - hundreds per year - and that - only in the section of this particular surgeon , at one hospital.
That's quite a lot, considering that nowadays we know more about heart arteries getting clogged and how to prevent that.

Well, in fact, one thing is knowing, and another is doing something about it. People have great difficulty in dealing with stress and addictions to food and smoking -  the main causes of artery clogging. Exercising could help ( the cardiologist of the above mentioned article ,62, runs every morning  before starting his work at the hospital). Most people, however, exercise very little.

While reading the interview , I got the  impression that the surgeon was trying to avoid the subject of adequate life style needed to keep the  arteries clean.   He honestly and happily kept admitting that he saw himself as being a good...plumber, nothing more - implying, perhaps, that  his job was to fix things , not  tell people how to live their lives. 

I suppose, his cardio colleague, the one who's expert in the heart's electrical  activity, and performs ablations (procedure to improve heart rhytm),  sees himself as  a good ...electrician.

May God help us keep away from needing the services of these two life saving 'handymen'!

* web picture - modern logo for plumber

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Anniversary...

On 26 of April, the world marks the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl, Ukraine (26 April 1986).
In the past, I wrote two posts on the subject (if you type Chernobyl in the search box on my sidebar, you'll get to them). At this time of the year, I tend to re-read them; it has become sort of an annual ritual for me. I'm  haunted and even fascinated by the subject. 

(Maybe I'm haunted by Ukraine in general. My Mom, exiled from Roumania to Ukraine during WW2, lost a baby girl and a young sister to famine and brutality there, and the two victims were burried in a mass grave in a region called Moghilev Podolsky. I wanted to go visit the bloody place ,when it became possible, to lit a candle, and say a prayer - but couldn't make it after all).

Anyway, I used to think that after a nuclear event at ground level like that of Chernobyl (unlike Hiroshima  where the bomb exploded in mid air), no living organism will ever survive. Well, I was wrong. Chernobyl area is full of animals and vegetation; there's almost a jungle out there, say  visitors. True, many of them have mutations, life span is probably short, but hey, they live and multiply.

The area, however, remains uninhabited by humans as radiation is very high, and they say it will remain so for thousands of years.(Unlike the bomb detonated in Hiroshima which was 14 pounds only, the reactor at Chernobyl had 180 tonsֱ!! of nuclear fuel).

Whenever I happen to read about the current situation in the 30 km exclusion zone of Chernobyl , I come upon the words 'flourish', 'thrive', 'rule', 'take over' - regarding Nature in general, and animals in particular. Unbelievable! Even scientists are shocked. 
32 years now after the disaster,  animals have greatly increased in numbers and variety, and are doing all right. Nature, it seems, has taken over the place abandoned by humans. 

Is there some kind of message in all this? such as: 'without humans, the world is better', 'Nature doesn't need humans, it's the humans who need Nature', and so on...? I wonder.
(There are some good videos  on the subject worth watching, on Youtube).

*  web picture - Baby Crying - graffiti in the ghost city of Prypiat adjacent to Chernobyl.