The easiest way for me to veer conversation towards a non-corona topic is to ask “what’s for dinner.” Everyone has to eat and what they’re feeding themselves tells me a lot about their current mindset. There are tons of phenomenal culinary projects that we can undertake, and I’ll focus on those in a subsequent post, but many friends I’ve spoken to have stocked up on white bread and Kraft singles since nothing says “the world is a safe place” like comfort food. A taste of childhood combined with the knowledge of consuming something naughty makes it all the more pleasurable.
I was in the ancient land of pharaohs and mummies for nearly two weeks before venturing north to Cairo. Coming from India where vegetarian food is bountiful, spicy, and vibrant, I knew that eating in Egypt would require an adjustment period. What I didn’t expect was how much of a gamble the tastiness of a meal would prove. I’d tried koshari from a popular spot in Luxor, a wonderful mix of large and small noodles, brown lentils, an oily tomato sauce, crispy fried onions, and a thin vinegary hot sauce. A few days later in Aswan, the same dish was lackluster at best; undercooked noodles, mushy lentils, and minimal seasoning. Same thing with fuul (fava bean strew) and tameya (fava bean fritters, Egyptian falafel). The slow cooked beans could be creamy and delicious, with fritters crispy and hot. But more often than not the fuul was bland and the tameya was dry.