If there is one thing I am obsessed with, (and believe me, there’s more than one) it’s Saturday morning breakfast. Not just any breakfast spot, but one that’s invite-only with limited seating. There’s no strict dress code. Just roll out of bed and pull up a chair. Then I take that first bite and I have to pause, because literally it’s one of my favorite bites ever. And I say this every time to my boyfriend Shay across his parents’ kitchen table in Jerusalem.
Israeli-style breakfast is very different from what we expect in the US. Instead of defaulting to the sweet and hearty, Israelis typically prefer something savory. At first it seems strange to eat a tomato and cucumber salad for breakfast, but accompanied by a fluffy omelet, various cheeses, spreads and toast you start to crave that type of brightness in the morning.
For many Iraqi Israelis, Saturday morning has it’s very own breakfast tradition: Sabich. Difficult to pronounce. Simply a joy to eat. Its origins are vague but its flavors are not. Because cooking is not allowed in observant Jewish households from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown the meals on Saturday have to be assembled with things made the day before.
Somehow this resulted in the ubiquitous pita filled with the following:
Hummus – I prefer a thin layer
Hard boiled egg – sliced or chopped
Potato – boiled, peeled and sliced
Fried eggplant – salted well to draw out bitterness, pan fried
Tomato, cucumber, onion (green/purple/white), parsley, lemon, salt
Spicy sauce – I’m absolutely obsessed with Shay’s father’s homemade one: tomato, red pepper, hot green pepper, lots of garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. I could eat a pita filled just with this alone and be very happy.