Clandestine Kibbutz Prosciutto

Daniella Schmidt // Ann Arbor, MI

I was 16 years old and just moved to Kibbutz Beit Hashita in the north of Israel to spend the year gallivanting around the country, laboring on the kibbutz in exchange for housing, learning at the local high school, picking up Israeli boys and, of course, eating as much Israeli food as possible.

Upon arrival, I was introduced to my host family. I was looking for hugs, comfort, and hanging-out, but they were wildly uninterested in any of that. From day one they made it clear that I should not expect to be cooked for during meal times; the fridge, however, was always open to me.

At some point, I decided to take it upon myself to peruse the fridge offerings and came upon a thinly sliced meat-looking-food called prosciutto. It reminded me of smoked salmon, my all time favorite food, so I decided to taste it, not knowing that I was embarking on a food adventure. It was when I finished the entire package and made my way down to the Kibbutz supermarket for more that I learned that the supermarket didn’t carry it!

I was devastated. I needed to have more! My host brother and kibbutz supermarket employee, Alon, seeing my panic pulled me aside to explain that they did, in fact, carry the delicious sliced meat, but that it was pork and it wasn’t permitted on the kibbutz so they had to hide it under every other meat product offering so only the heathens would know how to find it. Needless to say, the nook in the back of Kibbutz Beit Hashita’s supermarket might still be one of my favorite places in Israel.

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