Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Jordan like the other countries in the Fertile Crescent and the Arabian Peninsula, is a new state in an old territory, linked by geography, history, and demography to its neighbours. Its food production traditionally reflected the nature of its different soil conditions and its water resources; and its food transformation and preparation—its cuisine—reflected the skills of its inhabitants in adapting their tastes to the foods available to them.

Traditionally—until the political changes in the region, and in particular the influx of three successive waves of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons since the creation of Israel in 1948—Jordan’s food production and its cuisine were products of the three micro-climates of its space: the Jordan Valley, the high plateau, and the desert: citrus, bananas, and vegetables from the Valley, cereals, pulses, olives and olive oil, and other fresh and dried fruits from the plateau, and dairy produce from the sheep and goat herds of the desert.