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…

The Spirit of Ramadan Past

Ramadan is a month of fasting and feasting.  More pious Muslims will say that feasting defies the purpose of the month, that really it is a month for worship only. But for me feasting is integral to Ramadan. It puts our plentiful food into stark contrast with our daytime deprivation, making us even more grateful…

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…

Ka’ak Alrabe’a: Spring Rings

Click here to go straight to the recipe As spring struggles to push the winter out during this volatile month, or as the common Italian saying goes Marzo è pazzo  “March is Crazy!”; the women of the Jufra are busy baking golden sweet Ka’ak Alrabea.  These rich fluffy rings of bread are then presented in…

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…

Aseeda Barley Porridge

Barley forms the staple grain, along with durum wheat (hard wheat which is made into semolina) in the western region of Libya for both the Bedouin Arabs and the Amazigh Berbers. Barley is usually lightly toasted before being milled into flour used to make an array of pastes, dough and bread. Barley porridge, called bazeen…

Naturally Sweet Date Syrup

Islamic celebrations follow a lunar calendar meaning that they fall on different dates every year. As such most food traditions tend to be based on year round staples rather than seasonal produce. Miloud, or Mawlid Al Nabi, the prophet Mohammed’s birthday, is welcomed every year with a hearty barley based porridge (aseeda) topped with date…

World Pasta Day

I have always been mislead into believing that the Italians have had a great influence on Libyan cuisine, but the more I read, the more this conviction fades.  When we do think of Italian cuisine, pasta is one of the first dishes that pop to mind.  This leads many to the assumption that macaroni (generic…

Parcels of Joy

I was doing some food history research online when I came across the curious fact that the first dolma or stuffed vegetable recipe was recorded circa 350 BC! Turkish dolma known to the ancient Greeks as thrion was first made using fig leaves rather than vine leaves.  Fig leaves were pickled and stored in much the…

Cultural Exchange

Written by Azleena Wan Mohamad Through my work with Look Out Libya, I have come to realize the importance of opening up the Libyan culture to others and vice versa, which is partly why I started We Are Food in English. Many of you who follow me on Facebook will know Azleena from all the wonderful pictures…

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….

Dehydrated

This scorching heat has dried me up.  The lack of water all day doesn’t help.  I water my potted balcony “garden” almost twice a day. My fridge is still defrosting so I’m still in the spirit of being resourceful with food storage.  My tomato plant hasn’t borne any fruit yet (for those of you who…