What can you Cook with Food Aid Packages?

Hamada Shaqoura gets creative and creates tasty dishes using aid packages and luck. Now, the clock is ticking for him to get out of Gaza.

Valentine Wiggin
3 min readApr 1, 2024
This is a reupload. I could not find the original.
A paused video of a man (Hamada Shoo) sitting in front of a cutting board captioned “War bowl Today our lunch was tuna bowl” in front of a tarplike material
Photo for the thumbnail. Video by Hamada Shoo. Screenshot by me.

On March 26, 2024, Hamada Shaqoura uploaded a video* of himself making what he calls a “golden sandwich" out of the contents of an aid package. In the video, Hamada fries an onion, a tomato, a green chili pepper, a loaf of what looks likehalal spam, and some spices in some oil. After that, he wraps the meat-vegetable mixture in what looks like a whole wheat tortilla, dips it in batter, and deep fries it. When the battered wrap hits the oil, it produces a satisfying sizzling sound. Despite having to live on the contents of aid packages and luck, Hamada succeeded in making a delicious dish.

Hamada divided the sandwich between two children. The children’s smiles made their satisfaction apparent as they bit into the crispy bread and aromatic filling. After giving a thumbs up, they ate the parsley garnish and small side of pickle slices. They even went on to offer other children bites of the sandwich. This shows that Palestinians maintain a culture of generosity amid scarcity.

In a previous video, Hamada uses canned tuna and the same vegetables from before to make a “war bowl”. The bowl cost $15 in total when it would have cost $5 during normal times. He garnishes this dish with sesame seeds and roasted peanuts and eats it with flatbread. Many people, especially Westerners, would think of these culinary choices as unconventional, but recognize that convention food rules go out the window in a genocide. Some even recognize that Hamada is fortunate to be able to source any fresh ingredients.

Another video shows Hamada unboxing a food aid package as if he just ordered some new and exciting ingredients online. First, he opens a smaller box of individually wrapped tahini halva bars. In the box, there are also cans of beans, meat, and vegetables. There are no fresh ingredients or spices in these boxes. Those have to be sourced from markets or gifted from people who were fortunate enough to find such things. As of now, Hamada is in Rafah taking refuge from constant bombardment.

Hamada’s creativity is a testament to Palestinian resilience and resourcefulness. As a food blogger, he used to post himself eating food from restaurants, but now, he posts videos of what he makes from the contents of aid packages. These aid packages are a vital lifeline for Palestinians and are the difference between life and death for many. Without these aid packages, more Palestinians would starve to death. As many of these people wait to evacuate Gaza, they find ways to not only survive, but create appetizing dishes.

Hamada is a food blogger with around seven years of experience covering Gaza’s once booming food scene. Many of his older posts feature warm flatbreads, wraps stuffed to the brim with savory fillings, and crispy, juicy broasted chicken. He went from living a life of savoring the best tastes that Gaza has to offer to merely eating for survival in a matter of months.

Currently, Hamada and his wife, Lamis, are raising money to be able to evacuate. Lamis is pregnant and, at the time of setting up this fundraiser, “expected to give birth within 4 months”. He wants his child to be born in adequate medical facilities without the constant stress of an ongoing massacre. In addition to both himself and Lamis, Hamada is also trying to evacuate his parents, Nizar and Madja, and his younger sisters, Saba and Haya. The fees that would enable them to leave Rafah are around $6000 per person.

As of now (DOA 3/31/2014 at 4:44 Pacific Time), Hamada has raised 22,129 Euros or around 23,882.50 USD. This is still less than half of his 50,000 Euro ($53,967.75) goal. Rumors of Egypt closing the Rafah border crossing on April 9th have been circulating on Telegram and TikTok, which means that Hamada has eight days or less to meet his fundraising goal.

*Link goes to a reupload because the original cannot be located at this time



Valentine Wiggin

Death-positive, sex-positive, and LGBTQ-affirming Christian. Gen Z. I hate onions. She/her