Memories of a Middle Eastern Fish Fry

AS A PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN, raised in Nazareth near the Sea of Galilee, I remember my family observing “Fish Fridays” all through my childhood. Abstaining from red meat was a religious ritual (in the early days of Christianity, the church designated Friday as a day of fasting). But since my father adored fish, a love he passed down to all of us, Fish Fridays never felt like a deprivation.

When you’re in a minority, as Christians are in the Middle East, you tend to cherish simple traditions that make you feel part of a larger community. For us, it was this seafood feast—which included my extended family and neighbors—that had us gathered around the table for hours. To ensure we got the best catch, my father would wake up before the sun rose to be one of the first customers at the fishmonger’s counter. He’d bring back hamour, a prized grouper from the Persian Gulf, and delicate barbonies from the Mediterranean. Anything that came from those salt-saturated waters didn’t even

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Saveur

Saveur2 min readFood & Wine
Farm Fare
IN A WATERCOLOR PAINTING TITLED SIMPLY Saecham, 18th-century Korean artist Kim Hongdo portrays shirtless men seated on the ground, sinking chopsticks into huge bowls of rice and tipping back cups of makkoli, a fermented, lightly effervescent rice dri
Saveur4 min readFood & Wine
1 Sour Cherry Pie
SERVES 8 Active: 1 hr. 30 min. Total: 3 hr. 45 min. (plus cooling) The overflow of bubbly, sweet juices is part of the fun of summer-fruit pie-making: Just be sure to bake this one atop a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet to get out in front of any mes
Saveur2 min readFood & Wine
Wild Rice with Warm Spiced Carrot Milk
SERVES 8 Active: 30 min. • Total: 1 hr. 15 min. Ask a local Ojibwe tribe member how they most like to eat wild rice, and half of them will say, “With maple sugar and dried berries.” In this riff on the sweet bowl—which can be eaten at breakfast or fo