Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Kibbutz Breakfast

Sunday August 7th 2005

The Kibbutz Breakfast

“Breakfast” The most important meal of day, everyone says so, books tell you “do not miss breakfast”. They have not had to eat a kibbutz breakfast.

Kibbutz’s are a uniquely Israeli aspect of life. In other parts of the world, you would call them Commune’s, conjuring up images of hippy’s wandering around preaching love and peace. Here though they have always been the backbone of the country, almost every Israeli you meet, who has grown up here, has a one time lived on a kibbutz.

Kibbutz’s are like small farms, complete with an Industrial zone and housing community. Everyone has the own small house but no real kitchen, meals are served in a communal dining room. Most of the people, who live on the kibbutz, have jobs within the community whether it is on the farm or in factory/business that the kibbutz runs. Where I am staying the kibbutz has one of the largest paint factories in the country. Commerce is developed and the community runs them as a collective. In short some of these Kibbutz’s are multi million dollar operations.

As Israel has grown, the children of the kibbutz’s have moved to the big cities, for work and the bright lights, (that is after serving three years national conscription). And now a lot of the rooms have been turned into Bed and BREAKFAST hotel style rooms. Note the word breakfast has cropped up again.

They are a unique chance to actually experience the pioneer challenge that developed Israel into the nation it is today.

I have always tried to eat breakfast whilst on the road. And over the years, breakfast has been in places like this. A roadside cafes in rural Afghanistan, a dark smoky mud brick house on the pot holed road between Herat and Kandahar, just before you start the dash across the Desert of Death.

Here we had fresh baked Naan bread and fried eggs complete with tea, an hour later four of us were really sick and everytime we had to stop, we risked the chance of stepping on landmines in culverts under the road we were using as toilets. Only later to be told by a de-mining engineer that culverts are the most dangerous places for landmines.

We were too sick at the time to even think of the risk as we clambered down into the culvert before your stomach exploded. That was a bad breakfast, in what must be one of the worst places in the world to get sick.

In Iraq on the US Bases, you can get “Grits” for breakfast, and I grew up believing that Grits was only on the TV show, “The Beverley Hillbillies”. But this semolina type stuff is hard to handle, even “Cheese Grits” do not taste much better.

Breakfast in Vietnam, is a fantastic bowl of Pho soup, full of taste and every time you have one there is always a slight difference, so you can never get tired of ordering the same thing day after day.

The Kibbutz Breakfast must be the blandest repetitive meal that exists on the planet today. The communal dining halls are designed by Prison architects, functional, classless and depressing places. The meal is a self-service counter type with cucumbers and tomatoes sitting there, tubs of cream cheeses and yoghurt, hard-boiled eggs, and stale bread, hummus is naturally available.

It is just such a depressing meal to have to face everyday. Hot water is from a tap in the wall, the cutlery and plates are functional, and it is like walking into a bad prison movie dining room, at the end of your meal you take your plate out the back and put it on the conveyor belt Industrial dishwasher.

And like the movie “Groundhog Day” every morning you walk into the same scene, the food is exactly the same, the decor and ambience just the same. You probably read the menu items I listed and think that they sound good, BUT trust me every day it is the same. The same items in the same places.

In closing, I look out of my bungalow window and see a truly beautiful rural community lifestyle; the grounds are immaculate with glorious shade trees. I think I will close and go for a ride on my bike. They are a unique community lifestyle that you can stay in, but remember my words about “The Kibbutz Breakfast”, you too can experience what I have eaten it will be the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One must protest!
Some places serve nicer,richer breakfasts.
My friends and I visited Israel in 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed a Kibbutz breakfast.