Bread of the Bedouin

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I am trying to explain to the Bedouin that it would be a great idea to have a hiking experience that allows the customer to practice Bedouin culture; like bread making or how to make a fire or learning how to control a camel. Bedouin culture also includes slaughtering goats in the halal fashion but I think that is probably not quite what we are looking for. We need to create a series of modules so that together they provide a great cultural holiday. We decide to start with the bread making module.

bedouinThe Bedouin have mastered the art of making a fire in the middle of nowhere and baking bread within minutes. The bread is called fatir and is the large, flat and round bread that you see them eat with every meal. They do this every morning in the mountains so that customers have fresh bread for breakfast and during the day’s hike. It’s a fascinating process; watching them make the dough and forming it into perfect round balls and then rolling out the balls into a pizza-like shape which is then followed by their Italian pizza impression by throwing the fatir from one hand to another to make the bread shape bigger until it is so thin you can see the Bedouin hand through the dough. Then they place the fatir onto a flat metal sheet that has been placed over the fire and is now burning hot. They use their asbestos like fingers to pick up the heated bread and flip it onto the other side. It looks great and tastes even better. Nothing like freshly made warm bread for breakfast.

breadThe bread is cooked in less than a minute and the whole process is done and completed within half an hour. Customers like to have a go and soon a middle-aged English lady who has always bought her bread from a local bakery in little Britain is happily covered in flour, throwing the pizza shaped bread from one hand to the other (to make the size bigger) and burning her fingers when trying to flip the bread on the heated metal sheet.

I explain that we need lots of photos so we can show people what they will experience. How to make the fire, rolling out the dough, cooking the bread and so on. This is all understood and off they go into the mountains to make the promotional pictures. I sit back and wait with anticipation since I cannot join them due to being abroad. I arrive back in St Katherine to review the pictures.

Lots of great pictures, especially of the Bedouin rolling out the dough with a cigarette clamped between his teeth. Not sure what Health & Safety would think about that. Maybe some editing will be required. I also particularly liked the picture of the traditional Bedouin boy, complete with western t-shirt, jeans and Addidas trainers. Not sure how this would go down in the High Streets of England where we want to promote the Bedouin way of life rather than the western one. But we have lots of photos so, in’shallah, all will be well.

Bedouin Paths runs ethical hiking tours out of their Bedouin Camp at St. Katherine in Sinai. Contact Mark at mark@bedouinpaths.com or visit the website at www.bedouinpaths.com.

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