Ramadan in a Sofra

At sunset every day, during the holy month of Ramadan, the Sofra is the magnet that pulls family members together. Mom and the older girls emerge from the kitchen;  Dad comes home from mindlessly roaming the street – avoiding his stressed out wife; the zombie-like teenagers are freed from the trance of their mobile phones and…

Food Truck Nation

For most people, the name “food truck” will conjure images of gourmet burgers and fusion tacos. Across the United States and Europe these mobile eateries offer haute cuisine for the masses. This hot trend has started to catch on in the Middle East, especially in Dubai. In older cosmopolitan cities like Cairo and Istanbul, food…

Hand, Spoon, Fork : The Evolution of Libyan Food Culture

Through my endless readings and observations in Libyan Food Culture since first starting the We Are Food project in 2009, I find myself grouping Libyan recipes into three major categories, Hand – Spoon – Fork, or food which would require one of these three as the main eating utensil. From the very humble diet of the indigenous…

From the Books

I love okra. I have always eaten it one way, as a stew tabeekhat bamia, and I have previously posted my version on Look Out Libya.  I came across a new recipe (new to me anyways) about a year ago when I first started looking for material for We Are Food at its inception stage….

It’s Not Only Soup!

A heated discussion about a previous post titled “It’s Only Soup” ended with a somewhat clearer picture of what Libyan soup consists of, but I am still no closer to revealing the origins of this elusive broth.  A suggestion that tomatoes were around since the time of the Romans proved untrue since tomatoes were first…

Blog-trotting

I have spent the past month blogging away partially oblivious to what my counterparts were doing.  So this morning I had an epiphany – why not read what other Libyan bloggers (or bloggers in Libya) have/had to say about stocking up on food for Ramadan.  These are some captions from my favorites: Khadija Teri @…

Sugar Syrup

I guess my blood sugar must be getting low by now because I am desperately craving something sweet.  I would usually head straight for chocolate, but come Ramadan all I want are sticky, aromatic Arabian pastries.  Sweets in the Arab world go hand in hand with one thing, a’asel, qatar, atar, or sugar syrup. This…

Shakshuka Battles

Shakshuka is one of those great rustic, versatile, eat anytime meals that are super easy to make.  The name shakshuka indicates the way this dish is prepared, “all shaken up”. Eggs poached in a spicy tomato, garlic, onion and sweet green pepper ragout flavored with salty, smoky gideed*, my mouth is watering already!  I like…

Art Mocking Life

Our relationship with food is complex. In its simplest form food is meant to provide energy and nutrients to sustain us through the day, but with the evolution of man came the complications of social and emotional eating.  In most social settings around the world, food is a means to an end; a way of…

It’s Only Soup

A post on the We Are Food Facebook page yesterday about Libyan Soup got me thinking about why it is often considered a “national dish”. It is basic in its ingredients and it’s relatively new. Pasta and tomato paste were not introduced into Libya until the Italian occupation.  It’s not as “genuine” as couscous and…

Ice-Cream and Patriotism

This is not a belated post on the 4th of July. Clearly no American Independence Day picnic would be complete without an ice-cream truck chiming through the park, but the firework ashes have long settled.  In Libya, our expression of patriotism takes on a different form. It is more local than national. Being that Misratah…

Welcome

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…