Kibbeh Made the Traditional Using a “Jurn”

It was during the Ottoman rule that Kibbeh – the Traditional Lebanese dish originated. The Ottoman Empire occupied Lebanon for over 400 years, until 1918. During their rule when the Lebanese people prepared a meat dish/ or a BBQ, the solders used to smell the food and intrude onto their land, taking with them all the cooked meat and goods they could find. Not only would they steal food but also punish the people especially if they were Christians since the Ottoman rule was Islamic rule.

In the old days, a jurn (this is what the stone mortar is called) and a madaaqa (pestle) were essential tools for making kibbeh. On the day kibbeh was on the menu, the heavy stone jurn would be dragged out to a convenient place. The richer one was, the more decorative the jurn; the poorer the simpler. Kibbeh was the dish by which a woman’s skill were measured. The thump of the maqqada against the jurn was music to the ears of those nearby, an aural foretaste of the pleasures awaiting their palates.

The hair was covered to prevent it from contaminating the food. I chose the colour of red crimson to give life to the painting as most of their clothing was a very simple earth color.

The chimney, kitty corner to the seating area was positioned to allow the heat to circulate and warm the house. The objects in the picture are those that the earth has provided. The table shown in the picture had two holes where the jugs were placed to prevent them from tipping over. On the chimney shelf is a candle or oil lamp.

As you see behind her, the chimney was used for cooking and heating. There is a cooking pot made out of clay. It was called udir.