Here’s What My Jordanian Breakfast Taught Me.
In Jordan and the Middle Eastern countries, Fridays are equivalent to Sundays for western countries. My mom tried to finish all of her house chores by 2:30 pm to spend most of her time with us. She wanted us all to sit down, enjoy our lunch together and watch a show called CHiPs- a crime show about two police officers on a motorcycle in the late seventies.
Now, we can’t get enough time for anything-let alone family breakfast!
Those days are long gone. Nowadays, there is always something that needs to be done or an activity going on. There is no time for family breakfasts! All of us are always on the move. There is no time to slow down and look around, smell the flowers or simply laze around.
Back in the day, my mom was always an early riser.
We made fun of her and said that she could even wake up the neighbor’s rooster. But now I understand that she woke up so early to have time for herself. She would relax, make herself a pot of Arabic coffee and smoke her cigarette. By 7:00 am, my dad would go out to bring us back the most delicious food. He would always buy the tastiest, creamiest hummus from the shop down the street and a bag of freshly made falafel. He would also stop by the bakery for a dozen perfectly baked puffy loaves of pita bread. They were always still warm when he got back.
Jordanian breakfast was very special for me!
My family would always be excited for Friday mornings since it meant that our mother had taken the time to cook something special. My siblings and I would get so excited for Friday breakfast as my mom prepared the feast. We would patiently wait for my mom’s delicious homemade labneh, a soft cream cheese-like spread made from strained yogurt. There was also always falafel, hummus, and foul. I wasn’t a big fan of the foul, which is made of fava beans.
Our Friday Jordanian breakfast spread was huge.
Aside from those dishes, we also had omelets made with fresh eggs, onion, and parsley. The other mouth-watering dish was chopped chicken liver sautéed with onion and garlic and topped with fresh parsley and squeezed lemon juice. This was one of my favorite dishes. In Middle Eastern cuisine, Zait (olive oil) and za’atar are always served together. These two items were paired like peas in a pod. You would dip the hot pita in the zait, then into the za’atar, and add fresh cucumber, a slice of tomatoes, and homemade pickled olives. Doesn’t that sound exclusively delicious?
Women in my family took pride in what they did- be it household chores or cooking.
Women like my grandmas, mom, and aunties had mastered the art of food preparation. I have never heard my mom and aunts complaining about their duties in the kitchen. They were proud of their work and the food they created for us. I was always impressed by how they managed to satisfy their passion for cooking while taking care of their responsibilities. They knew how and when to buy seasonal fruits & vegetables and preserve them for longer.
Preservation was the key to having seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
For example, when it was the season for apricots, my mom asked my dad to buy a couple of boxes, and then she made jams and fresh rollups for us. When green beans were in season, my mom bought the beans in bulk to prepare for ten meals in the future. My mother would preserve the beans by cutting them into small pieces and blanching them in hot water. The beans were then brought to room temperature and frozen in the freezer.
She also pickled cucumbers and olives, but my favorite was the pickled eggplant. She would get the tiny eggplant and make something called Maqdous, a process that takes a couple of weeks to get done. In Maqdous, the eggplant is preserved in salt and stuffed with walnut, garlic, and hot pepper in a jar filled with olive oil. The mixture is left until it is fermented and becomes ready to eat.
Everything was handmade with love and patience.
Dairy products like cheese and labneh were never bought from the market. The women were experts at making dairy products. They would spend hours working with fresh milk to get the divine taste of rich and creamy cheese and labneh. They even did it while working full-time jobs and caring for their families.
The three most popular fat products in our house were; Samena Balada Ghee, olive oil, and vegetable oil. Samena Balade Ghee is made by hand from sheep’s milk during the springtime. It gave off an incredible smell that was irresistible to everyone. The ghee also made the whole kitchen smell like heaven. My mother used it only for Friday breakfasts and memorable meals since it was pretty expensive and only available in the spring. Hence, it was part of the yearly family budget.
My family would also order olive oil fresh from the farm. I remember it came in a big 5-gallon tin container, and we had to keep it closed in a cold place away from the sun so it wouldn’t degrade. The last fat product that we would use was vegetable oil. We would get our vegetable oil from the market, and we only used it for frying food.
Now, I make the traditional Jordanian breakfast for my family.
This special breakfast spread helps us bond as a family over food. Usually, they avoid the chicken liver but love everything else. But I don’t mind as long as we can all sit around the table and enjoy a delicious breakfast while creating memories. I hope you enjoy the hummus recipe and share in some of the joy I experienced on those delightful Friday mornings. My creamy hummus recipe is meant to rejuvenate great memories with your loved ones from my kitchen to yours with love.
Create memories, build experiences and share love!
It is the only way we live on forever. Hope my Jordanian breakfast helped you think of your childhood. What is your favorite family tradition? Do you still follow them? Don’t forget to share them in the comments.
Would you like to learn some amazing Jordanian breakfast recipes?
Ready to start your day with an explosion of flavors? Check out my authentic Jordanian breakfast recipes below and treat yourself to a unique culinary experience!