Communal Dining: Stories and Recipes from the Kibbutz
By Assi Haim and Ofer Vardi
Photography: Assi Haim
Why do kibbutz residents bake dinner rolls to combat flooding? Why do kibbutzniks celebrate May Day with a hearty bowl of borscht? Which kibbutz’s meatballs make women’s breasts larger and men’s chests hairier? Which kibbutz offers a traditional Japanese dish?
Every kibbutz has one fabled recipe that all kibbutz residents reminisce about and long for: an unusual dish, a special dessert, or a snack that seems very simple, yet that no restaurant can replicate. Ofer Vardi, a journalist and foodie, and Assi Haim, a journalist and photographer, embarked on a journey through the “mess halls” of Israel’s many kibbutzim to hunt down these recipes. They scoured the country, investigated, tasted (or rather, devoured), and discovered a host of mouth-watering dishes. More importantly, they came away with stories that had to be shared, from the days of Israel’s first pioneers to more recent years, in which many kibbutzim have begun to abandon their cooperative ideals in favor of a privatized management system.
Ynet: The kibbutz mess hall has never been considered as a place that serves gourmet food to every worker. Communal Dining shatters that stigma. / Globes: The main contender for the most charming book of food writing in recent memory. / Israel Hayom:Communal Dining is a rare bird in the food writing landscape.