Growing Up Palestinian in Iowa—Before Hummus, 9/11 & Christchurch

“I dare you to touch it,” my neighbor nudged me, pointing to the lamb’s eye—still intact—as we hovered over the cooler where it was being stored. I stood frozen until Grandma Amina gestured for us to lift the cooler and bring it to her to be seasoned.

It was an unusual sight in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa, where animals were everywhere. Neighbors who hunted turned deer into jerky; everyone knew someone who bought and butchered a prize-winning cow from the county fair; and many high school graduations took the form of pig roasts. But to have lamb was so rare that ours traveled to us from Chicago, 180 miles away.

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* This article was originally published here

Updated: March 23, 2019 — 11:35 pm

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