The air is filled with the alluring aroma of freshly baked bread and burning firewood in Deir el-Balah, Gaza Strip.
Inshirah Salem al-Aqra, 53 years old, will swear to anyone who listens that food prepared in a wood-fired taboon has an even greater flavor.
For a very long time, she has been constructing these conventional clay ovens for anyone who requests them. The oven is manually shaped from clay, animal dung, and straw before being allowed to dry in the sun.
The mother of ten remarked, “People bake bread or make mandi [slow-cooked chicken] in these ovens.”
“Everything is so difficult in this war. Even making coffee or tea requires the taboons, she continued.
Palestinians have returned to tradition as they look for al-Aqra as the only woman who can make them taboo due to fuel and electricity blackouts that have affected a large portion of the Gaza Strip.
After her husband’s fishing boat was destroyed by Israeli forces last month, her family now relies solely on this for income.
Since last week, she has produced and sold five ovens that range in width from 50 cm to 90 cm (20 to 35 inches), which is more than she could have produced in a previous month.
I don’t want to take advantage of people, especially in these times, she said, maintaining her previous prices.
The smallest oven costs 80 shekels ($21), while the biggest costs 150 ($40).
Due to fuel shortages following Israel’s complete siege of the Gaza Strip, the only mill there is unable to grind wheat.
Al-Aqra has welcomed displaced women seeking refuge in nearby schools into her home.
She said, “They bring me flour so I can make them bread.” “I fill their jerry cans too if I have clean water.”
She hopes that the conflict, which has devastated the Gaza Strip and killed 13,000 Palestinians, will soon come to an end.
Enough, she remarked.