Simple Ideas

Growing up abroad, I was always fascinated by how the Americans celebrated their holidays.  Christmas was all about the lights and decorated tree, there was the Easter bunny and the Thanksgiving parade.  It was a child’s (and, I now realize, a retailer’s) wonderland.  I must admit I have been disappointed by the lack of festivity during the observation of religious holidays here in Libya.  Somehow the spirit of fun and happiness has started to fade.  I was especially upset after spending Ramadan last year in Cairo with family.  The Egyptians now how to celebrate; the tone was just right, walking down the street the signs of Ramadan were all around and the religious spirit was just as strong. This is why this year I’ve decided to bring some of that festive spirit into our home with a few simple ideas.

Food is eaten through the eyes and nose before it ever reaches the mouth. If it doesn’t look appealing or smell good, we probably won’t even touch it, let alone eat it.  Dressing up your sofra or dinner table can make any meal a little more special.


What you'll need

This hip retro theme with a touch of Libyan style is perfect for the young and trendy family.  The table runner sets the color scheme and highlights from this palette are picked up in the tealights.  Spruce up a regular table napkin by clipping on the hand of fatima or kh’maysa (a symbol of the number 5, believed to ward off the evil eye). Usually sold in silver or gold, these kh’maysas can be found at wedding favor shops for about 0.35 LYD depending on the size.

Simple and bright, urban chic with a touch of Libya
Paper clips are one of those versatile things we can't live without


What you'll need

If you are a more traditional person, and happen to have some local crockery or cookware around the house, perhaps this theme will spark some ideas for you.  A traditional brooch or kh’lal usually worn by brides in the full Libyan bridal dress, is a great accessory for your table.  Again a replica of the kh’lal can be found at any good wedding favor supply shop.

Traditional crockery is timeless
A simple kh'lal replica used as a napkin holder


What you'll need

Classic simplicity can be hard to achieve.  It is very easy to over do it when you start to add the shiny and the sparkly.   Fine china, silverware and glassware/crystal ware are a must to pull this look off.  An arabesque silver bob hung on a mobile charm hook adds a fun twist to this otherwise classy design.

A classic table setting is always sophisticated
A new use for a mobile phone charm

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Tariq Bukres says:

    Love the new look of your website, always preferred a simple design. As a Libyan living all my life abroad, it nice that someone makes an effort to educate us about our culture in any form. I think you have fans I can noticed it on Twitter, I am sure you have fans on Facebook.

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to write about Libyan cuisine, my American friend who is a cook follows your blog now.

    A corporate drop-out & a Global Patriot- born American, raised Lebanese, married to a Brit & living in bloody England

    She has a cooking blog which you might like.

    Note: I neither cook or crazy about Food, still knowledge is important.

    1. Great to hear from you again Tariq! You just reminded me to start a twitter page, as the Facebook one is doing quite well. Glad you like the new look, I prefer it too and will keep it this way even after Ramadan.

      Thanks for the great link, your friend does wonderful work, and I love Middle Eastern food. My brother is addicted to all things Lebanese so her recipes will come in handy for whenever he comes over 🙂

      Ramadan Kareem and thanks as ever for reading my humble blog!

  2. FreeQa Dawn says:

    Hi there and helloo..
    i like this page n all and ive read all of ure blogs so far and id like to say good job and well one..
    adn i like libyan holidays the way they are, as u said the ultra festivity of western holidays has made holidays there a market frenzy and parties and such, but ppl have forgotten wat their holidasy mean adn what they oughta remember, so i think holidays here in libya are all good the way they are, this week was 3ashora and these kids came nokking on me door trick or treating, the chanted some stuff in teh name of the revolution and such so as to give them so treats, i wanted to give them a lecture on what 3ashora means but that would of been torture for em, so i just gave them some sameansa and they hit the road, its rong to follow other ppl especially wen its pulling ppl adrift, so parents and grown ups should teach the kids of tehir holidays, and as for the pictures … theyre fancy, really nice n fancey n all but a bit too fancy for the typical libyan, i mean most of us eat on the ground,and we eat everyday dishes that would only need a fork if there was salad or summit …dont get me wrong id love to buy the rashgaat and shantrowat for my wife to be but i know she would pnly put them as deceration on a bookshelf if she didnt put it on herself …. again thanx for the topic and sorry for getting carried away and typing more than u have 😀

  3. FreeQa Dawn says:

    P.S. the woman in teh picture of teh cutlery family up top looks like a devil, i think thats discriminative 🙂

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