Pushing what I can do with stop motion animation, I built a small home studio for table, creating a series of easy to make Jewish and Middle Eastern inspired recipes that I love eating and cooking (but mainly eating). When I look at a recipe I rewrite it a bit, using rough amounts (don’t @ me), break it down into easier steps that make sense to me so it’s less confusing. I wanted to do the same here and make it visually simple so the viewer would get a general sense of what they had to do.
Using copious amounts of blue tack and made of nearly 5000 photos, this was a real challenge; being director, animator, art director, food stylist, chef and editor all at the same time is exhausting but I get to eat the props afterwards (and maybe during, a bit, stop judging me) so that’s not nothing. I spent quite a bit of time on pre-viz and storyboarding to work out interesting or fun transitions between shots, how the next 3 shots all link to each other and where to put in cooking breaks.
HOW TO MAKE…. SHAKSHUKA
שקשוקה - شكشوكة - Shakshuka roughly translated means “all mixed up” or “a haphazard mixture” which is also probably the most accurate way of describing my cooking… Originating in Yemen, Tunisia, Libya or the Ottoman Empire depending on who you speak to, its the perfect Sunday brunch (or any other day brunch). It starts, as all the best recipes do, with a deep pan and spicy tomato sauce, and once you have the basics you can play around with it to your liking.
I like to top it with cashew nuts, and make it sweet and spicy, the Israeli version has poached eggs on top maybe with feta cheese, Egyptian version has more of an egg scramble, some people replace the red ingredients with green ingredients, and in every version you can add meat into it which is always fine with me!
HOW TO MAKE HUMMUS
الحمص - חומוס - Hummus, is probably the MOST Middle Eastern of all the Middle Eastern dishes to ever Eastern in the Middle of a dish. Made from the ubiquitous Chickpea, it’s high in protein and fibre, making it a good side dish or whole dish, but preferably a big dish.
Spelt with an ever increasing number of ways by rearranging the vowels, Hummous, Homous, Hommos, or Houmus can be eaten with a topping or naked. This is a topping that I quite like with a nice combinations of veg. You can make variations including green hummus, cauliflower hummus, beet hummus, and as always you can add meat on top which is always fine with me. Yay for Hummus!
HOW TO MAKE…. FALAFEL
Alright, this is the is the first one of these Ive made, that actually has a proper emoji 🥙 woooo! فلافل - פלאפל - Battling it out with Hummus as the best thing to ever happen to chickpeas, is Falafel. You can find it on every street corner in the Middle East as the go to fast food of the region, it’s the original Big Mac, but better. Falafel is thought to originated in Egypt as Coptic Christians used fava beans as a vegetarian meal during lent. Eat in a salad, as a side dish or a mezze but obviously the only way to eat it is to stuff it in a pitta with lots of veg, hummus, pickles, baba ganoush, mango pickle, fried aubergine and tahini sauce, making as much mess as you can.
TRIVIA: the world’s largest falafel weighed 101.5 kg and took 45 mins to fry in Jordan in 2019
HOW TO MAKE…. LATKES
לאַטקע - Latkes are basically potato pancakes, which are traditionally eaten during the festival of Hanukka to commemorate the miracle of oil lasting eight days in the Holy Temple, so now we get innovate with a potato and drown it in oil. (Hanuka is at the end of the year, but since time has lost all meaning now, we can pretend it’s December now so this horrible year can be over quickly)
Eat them hot or cold with hot sauce, apple sauce, avocado, cream cheese, feta cheese or just naked as G-d intended (the Latke, not you, the oil will scold you… I’ve heard)