Israel’s Independence Day is synonyms with BBQ, known in Hebrew as the “mangal”. Herds of Israelis (we like to travel in packs), fill up backyards and public parks, set up mobile grill stations, folding tables and chairs, and feast on kebabs (grilled meat patties), shishliks (chicken skewers), hummus, tehini and many other varieties of salads. The holiday itself is the unofficial inauguration of the Israeli grilling season- which lasts throughout the entire summer, which tends to span at least until October.
Unfortunately, twenty-one years of American barbeque left its mark on me, and I still, after nearly eight years of living in Israel, prefer the Yankee kind. I pride myself that I have really been able to assimilate well into the Israeli culture, yet this is one of the last things, along with politeness, that I am unwilling to give up. Last year I took matters into my own hands and had the holiday at my house. My friends were delightfully treated to a do-it-yourself hamburger and hotdog buffet. They loved it-but one year was enough of a divergence from the norm. This year we are back to the mangal.
Here are a few recipes that are great for the outdoors, easy to make and tasty eaten alone or in a pita. Betei Avon!