Hi I’m Najoud!
Just like my Bedouin name, I am a nomad, a food seeker & an information gatherer who is curious about her environment & adapts her ways with each discovery. I have a perpetual hunger to learn about food & culture through my travels. On this blog, I attempt to learn & share the knowledge of how each country or region’s food wound up on the table & I’m using this platform to unravel each story.
I am Saudi with Syrian & Palestinian roots. Roots, that’s a funny word don’t you think? It doesn’t matter where I live or what experiences I go through, I keep going back to my roots. Not necessarily country specific ones, but rather to the roots of who I am as a person, what I want to learn & what I would like to achieve – especially when it comes to food & travel.
As a child, my family & I spent summers between my mom’s family in Amman, Jordan & my father’s family in Bloudan, Syria. Let me assure you my curiosity & hunger for adventure and exploration drove & still drives my family crazy, literally.
As a kid no older than 10, I used to wake up earlier than anybody else & would venture out into Bloudan’s beautiful nature. I used to climb trees, pick fruits & travel deeper discovering the place I was visiting. They would search for me for hours until they got used to my daily routine & realized that I would eventually come home when I was hungry. After all, even as a kid, I really loved my stomach. Some things will never change.
Only recently I came to realize that my reputation even amongst the most distant of relatives is “the one who cares for her appetite”. This was also my reputation throughout school & university.
I clearly remember as a teenager smuggling pita bread on many occasions into the classroom and secretly eating out of my desk’s drawer during class hoping that neither my teacher nor the principle would catch me & send me off to detention. I even remember during college days being referred to as “the girl who always eats in class” whether they knew me or not, they knew I loved to eat – always. Surely enough this was my reputation at work too – I simply don’t attend meetings during lunchtime (unless I could eat). Lol. What can I tell you, priorities are priorities. Full stop.
Back then I ate because I loved to eat & I was often hungry with a high metabolism (where’s that metabolism now? Thanks 30’s). Now I eat because it means so much more, here’s how…
Both food & history have had a profound impact on my life & have guided me on this wonderful journey of endless exploration and deeper understanding.
I not only live to eat, but I live to learn how each country or region’s history, culture, climate, geography, availability of resources and all other factors have impacted a region’s cooking methods, ingredients used & food presentation styles.
Close your eyes for a moment & imagine you’re in Africa, Ethiopia specifically. You enter a restaurant & you are presented with a selection of local dishes. They’ve been cooked for hours using many spices; served with their special bread on a tray off which you will eat using your hands.
Once again imagine me welcoming you into my home and to my family’s dinner table where the real bonding happens. You will find an array of food options across the dining table, more than anyone can consume, a grandma insisting to add more food onto your plate & an overall super loud family who talk all over each other, which is part of the charm. It is everyone’s role to keep passing around the many dishes across the table.
Each of these experiences are completely different. To me, food is like getting to know a person, you have to dig deeper & know more before you could have a real intimate experience. It is having this mindful understanding of where it came from & how it got there is what truly fascinates me. This is why I prefer local experiences, they help me get down to the real story.
I am so grateful to share this journey with you & I’m excited with each passing day to learn more about the compelling story behind world’s foods & their history.