About

About Me

Sarah Elmusrati

Born and raised in the USA, I now live in Tripoli, Libya.  I have spent many days contemplating how my Libyan heritage has affected post-American me. As a practicing architect, I have a habit of observing the way people live and interact, and how they have progressed from their traditions. This, along with a childhood passion for food and writing, inspired me to write about food.

My first culinary experience was ten years ago, struggling to make our first lunch as newlyweds, at which point I wished I had paid more attention to my mother’s command of the kitchen.  What was once a chore stemming from love gradually turned into a passion; a passion to be a good homemaker for my family and a good host for my friends.  With the We Are Food project, I hope to share some of my gastronomic experiences with you.

I am also proud to be a founding member of the Académie de Cuisine du Monde Arabe (Academy of Arab Cuisine) based in Paris, France. I was previously an editor at LookOutLibya .com, the online expat’s guide to living and working in Libya. I have published several feature articles including the “In Season” series which focuses on eating fresh and local. You can find the links to these articles by clicking the “articles” tab above.

About We Are Food

It’s no secret that the core of Libyan society, traditions and customs is centered on food.  A Libyan man’s passion stems from his heart and his stomach. A Libyan woman’s dexterity is measured by her performance in the kitchen. A good child is a child who eats well; a good mother is a mother who cooks well, and a good father is a father who provides well.  The quality and quantity of food served reflect the hospitality, generosity and virtue of its host.  Food is a national pastime, a near obsession. No celebration is complete without a feast worthy of the Sultans of our Ottoman heritage. We Are Food in who, what, when, where and how we eat. Food makes up both our fabric and our soul.

The We Are Food initiative started in September 2009 as a self-funded culinary research project for a book I am writing.  The passing of my grandmother marked a milestone in my life, a symbol of stories that were lost with her, traditions that are dying with her dwindling generation.  The lack of documentation on Libyan culture in general, and food in particular, has brought on this challenge of trying to retrieve and preserve an integral piece of Libyan society.

This project stems from a series of observations I have made over the past years as to the way the Libyan diet alters as economic changes occur.  The prepackaged imported supermarket stocks and fast food chains are quickly taking over what is left of an undocumented food heritage that will soon be lost.  The evolvement of the Libyan diet also reflects our ever-changing identity through our colorful history and wide range of foreign influences, be it Ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Greek, Phoenician, Roman, Islamic, Ottoman, or Italian. The We Are Food campaign aims to bring people back to their grassroots traditions through engagement in an ongoing conversation about what food means to us.

In order to achieve this task I need your help. Please comment freely about any of my posts; feel free to add, correct or suggest where necessary. Your contributions are much needed. Join the We Are Food Facebook page and interact with myself and others. It’s time to dig up your unique family recipes, get talking with the elders in your families and communities, and post pictures of food you make or eat, or food related events, such as Ramadan, Eid, Weddings, Ashura etc. For you non-Libyans, who have somehow found your way to this blog, I would love to read your observations on the similarities and differences between Libyan food culture, and the cultures of the countries you are from or have lived in.

Enjoy!

Sarah

27 Comments Add yours

  1. Yacine Majid says:

    Great Blog, hope to see it it grows by the day (as a lil child LOL)

    i really like your blogs @ look out libya and will be reading more here.

    good luck

  2. Thanks Yacine for reading what I write, and commenting here and on facebook. It’s for people like you that I do it. I’ll be writing more articles for look out libya when we start again in september.

  3. Tariq Bukres says:

    I usually search anything about Libya on a daily basis on the internet and post interesting articles on Twitter. I have added your blog on my google reader,will post your last article on Twitter. Good Luck with your blog and you have my support. I post under the name AyaMai.

  4. Thanks so much for endorsing my blog and for all your support. Look for to seeing more posts from AyaMai!

  5. azizi ahmad says:

    good luck Sarah!🙂

  6. I like this blog a lot, it will be a delicious experience, As a fellow Libyan and an avid passionate culinary enthusiast, I will be following this blog always. Good luck and thanks.

  7. Thanks Ghazi for your comment and subscribing to the blog. I would love for you to show us some of your culinary passion through your feedback and ideas. Maybe we can start a Libyan Culinary Society, it’s about time we had one!

  8. Desert Rose says:

    Wish you’d be more creative- Zwawi is full of creativity basically you’ve just summarized his version of Libyan life and culture but in English -good try but you can do much better.

    Don’t take it personal but professionally speaking ,you have a lot more to offer Sarah…

    Blessings.
    Desert Rose
    Tripoli- Libya

    1. Hi Desert Rose, thanks for you feedback, though I wish you had posted this under the Art Mocking Life article where it would have been more relevant. My aim was not to study or critique Zwawi’s work as this is not an art-related blog, I only wanted to present an aspect of Libyan food culture or behavior through Zwawi’s work. This is only the first of many posts to come on unhealthy eating habits. Read some of my other articles and let me know what you think.

  9. Mimi says:

    Sarah I’m truly loving this website, you are doing a great job with your blog entires. As a teenager, I’m usually not interested in reading blogs but I’m very interested in yours. I really enjoy reading them and seeing your point of view. Please keep writing. (:

    1. Hi Mimi, I’m totally honored that you are enjoying my blog. Getting a teenager on board is my biggest achievement yet, as I know kids your age are the most difficult to please! I sure know that I was that way when I was younger. Thanks and keep reading🙂

  10. diplowife says:

    Hi Sarah, Love your blog, will follow regularly from now on…

  11. Thank you diplowife, your support is much appreciated🙂

  12. Wonderful photos you have there, keep it up. What camera are you using?
    Waiting eagerly for your next post.

    regards,
    http://www.cookingthyme.wordpress.com

    1. Hi there,
      Thank you for your comment, I have deleted your other comment as requested. I currently use a (very) old (very) basic camera Konica Minolta DiMage Z2, that I’ve had for over years. I have been asking all my photographer friends and they all recommend the Canon EOS 550D as a great entry level DSLR and I’ll be investing in one myself soon. Hopefully this will improve the quality of the pictures on my blog. Good luck with your blog, it looks great!

      1. Even with a basic camera your photos are wonderful and as you said, with a DSLR it will make a huge difference to the blogs appearance.

        I’m presently using an Olympus point and shoot camera and I must say the photos are nowhere near, where I’d like them to be. So I’m planning to get a DSLR soon, still confused between the Rebel T1i and Nikon D3100. The Rebel T2i you mentioned is an excellent choice, its successor T3i has just been released last week.
        seems like by the time I get a DSLR a T8i model will be out.

  13. Sally says:

    Thinking of you all in this difficult time.

  14. Mohamed says:

    Hi Sarah, Love your blog and good-luck

    1. Thanks Mohamed and welcome to the blog!

      ________________________________

  15. askan says:

    I am very happy to have come across your blog. It is cool to discover the cuisines of “lesser” known countries. I had some years ago the chance to eat camel in a clay pot in Tripoli which was really nice. Otherwise I did not really tour the food part of the city enough. So your blog brings back memories and offers a perspective on something unique. I would like to see a post on markets from your side, as this is my topic for blogging on http://askan.biz

    1. And I’m very happy you found it! It’s nice to hear you had a chance to visit Tripoli, and I hope there comes a time when you can come back and tour freely. I see you have read the blog post on food trucks (btw thanks for the re-tweet!) which is related to your topic, but I’ll try to post something about markets as soon as I can. Thank you for your message and for following the blog!

  16. abderraheem says:

    It is beautiful idea to write about Libyan food in English, which will be very useful for foreign people who wants to know about Libyan culture.
    Nice blog, and precious articles that I have found on this blog. In addition, I am very sure that beautiful person stands beyond this blog keep going and I hope meet you someday.

    1. Thank you Abderraheem for your beautiful comment and words of encouragement! We do not do enough to show the other side of Libya beyond the news feeds. I hope I can play a small part with this blog. Thank you for being a gentleman in the time of savages, and I too hope we can meet someday!

      1. abderraheem says:

        Thank you too and good luck

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