How to throw an Egyptian themed birthday party


Walk the aisles of any party store and the selections are the same: overpriced plastic renditions of the latest Disney craze. But what would happen if I helped my child see there's more to the world than someone else's fairy tale? What interests your child? Start there. Ava's Egyptian-themed birthday party came about in a round-about way... but it's always been about what she loves. About six months before her 5th birthday, I noticed she would often ask to read a book on gemstones that her … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Egypt


THE SCENE We huddled together on the couch - three big geeks - faces glowing in the flickering light. It was Mr Picky, myself, and our friend Janine. Ava was asleep for the night. In fact, she'd been asleep for hours and hours and hours. The coffee table was loaded up with platters of Ful Medames, White Coffee, and a box of kleenex - just in case. Now, before you get the wrong idea, I should state that I'm not normally a TV person. I was raised without it. My mother kept hers in the … [Read more...]

Recipe: White Coffee (a.k.a. Rose water Tea)


Makes 1 cup Want to drink a rose? White Coffee is the fabulous way to be romantic. Just boil a pot of water and 15 seconds later you'll be sipping on a hot cup of romance, relaxation and restful enjoyment. Although called white coffee, this popular Middle Eastern drink is really a caffeine-free blend of hot water with floral essences, spices, herbs, or aromatics. Our version is made especially for Valentine's Day with one of the most popular variations, rose water. Psst, it helps to serve … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fava Bean Mash (Ful Medames)


Makes about a quart On the streets of Cairo, Egypt, people on their way to work stop by a street vendor to grab a few bites of Ful Medames. They hover around, scooping the dip up with Egyptian flatbread - a sight as common as an American dunking a donut into their coffee. This breakfast of champions is full of protein and... thanks to all the goodies drizzled on top?.... totally, utterly addictive. Ingredients: 1 onion, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 2 15 oz cans fava beans, drained and … [Read more...]

Recipe: Ali’s Mother (Umm Ali)


Serves 6 Egyptians have been eating Um Ali for hundreds of years. Clifford A. Wright tells the story well: One day while hunting in the Nile delta, the sultan developed a ravenous appetite and stopped in a small village. The peasants wished to please the sultan, so the best cook of the village, Umm Ali, pulled out a special pan and filled it with the only ingredients she had around: some dried wheat flakes, sultanas [raisins], nuts, and coconut. She covered it with sugar and milk and put it … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Drink like an Egyptian


Want beer for dinner? While this might seem like an outrageous and irresponsible prospect today, from what I can tell it was a possibility in ancient Egypt. So grab your passport, as we dig up a few fun facts about Egyptian beer. Beer was a thick and hearty beverage, made by fermenting barley mash with yeast. Some also think it was made by fermenting pieces of yeast-risen bread. Today we think of beer as golden or dark amber. In ancient Egypt beer could be red, which was popular, or … [Read more...]

Recipe: Kushary (also Kushari)


Serves 6 In Egypt, there are entire restaurants devoted soley to the production of Kushary. Giant vats are filled with the necessary ingredients and kept warm over low heat. With each order, a quick-moving server walks their ladle through the vats, filling the customer's bowl up to the brim with pasta, rice, lentils, spicy tomato sauce, and fried onions. While it is difficult to reproduce this type of assembly at home, it is possible to layer all the ingredients in a casserole and keep warm. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spicy Egyptian Tomato Sauce


Makes 2 cups Spicy, garlicky, and tangy, this "doctored" tomato sauce goes great with pasta, rice, or all of the above (a.k.a. kushary ... noodle, rice and lentil casserole). Feel free to tone down (or up) the heat, if you like things a little milder. Often extra sauce is placed on the table so diners can heap it on in whatever quantity desired. Ingredients: 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz) 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste) 1 tsp vinegar salt (only needed if your … [Read more...]