Food History: Egyptian Cuisine

(From Wikepedia)

Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as Ful Medames, Kushari, rice-stuffed pigeon, Mulukhiyya with rabbit, and Feteer Meshaltet, while sharing similarities with food found throughout the Eastern Mediterranean like rice-stuffed vegetables or grape leaves, Shawerma, Kebab, Falafel, Baba Ghannoug, and Baqlawa. Bread forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. Bread is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals; a working-class or rural Egyptian meal might consist of little more than bread and beans. The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, glutenous pita bread called Eish Masri or Eish Baladi (Egyptian Arabic: عيش ʿēš) rather than the Standard Arabic خبز khubz. The word “Eish” comes from the verb “ʿāš, yuiʿīš” meaning “to live” indicating the centrality of bread to Egyptian life. In modern Egypt, the government subsidizes bread، dating back to a Nasser-era policy; as of 2008[update], however, a major food crisis has caused ever-longer bread lines at government-subsidized bakeries where there would normally be none; the occasional fight has broken out over bread, leading to fear of bread riots.[1] The bread subsidies are also viewed by political observers as a means by the government of mitigating opposition by the lower-classes to an authoritarian domestic political system.

Some Egyptians consider Kushari, a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni, to be the national dish. Ful Medames (mashed fava beans) is also popular and is used in making Ta’meyya (also known as Falafel), which Egyptians consider to be superior to elsewhere in the Middle East where chickpeas is the major ingredient of this dish, although chickpeas have been grown by Egyptians for thousands of years.

Abu_tariq_koshari 

Kushari served at an Egyptian restaurant in Cairo.

Ancient Egyptians are known to have used a lot of garlic and onion in their everyday dishes. Fresh mashed garlic with other herbs is used in spicy tomato salad and is also stuffed in boiled or baked aubergines (eggplant). Garlic fried with coriander is added to Mulukhiyya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or (preferably) rabbit. Fried onions can be added to Kushari

For more information, visit Wikepedia.

Per Request here is the Kushari Recipe: http://www.multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/recipes/item/329-kushari-recipe.html

A Brief History of Haitian Cuisine-A True Multi-cultural Experience (by Monica Johnson)

Freshly caught fish served on a leaf.

Freshly caught fish served on a leaf.

Looking for African influences in the Caribbean? Look no further than Haiti, where most of the population is of African descent. When the first Europeans came to settle in the land of the Arawak and Taino Indians, they brought oranges, limes, mangoes, rice, and sugar cane with them, but that’s not all they brought. They also brought African slaves and left them to work the sugar cane plantations.

“How did this come about?” you may ask. Well if you recall there was a man named Christopher Columbus who had a little something to do with the history of the Americas. Remember how Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, well guess where else he landed? Quite the busy little beaver, the explorer discovered the already inhabited land and claimed it for Spain. Spain called it Santo Domingo, but Columbus named it La Isla Espanola (The Spanish Island later to be called Hispaniola).  By the year 1520, the native Indians were almost completely wiped out from the hard slave labor the Spanish imposed  upon them and the revolts of the people leading to executions by the Spaniards. Sadly the Taino’s have no tangible legacy in the form of an existing people in Haiti; therefore, Africans were shipped over to the island to work on the sugar cane plantations.

The Africans introduced okra, ackee (red and yellow fruit), pigeon peas, taro (edible root with a nutty flavor). By the year 1700, the French had taken control of Hispaniola and with the African slave labor still in place, they expanded their commerce to include coffee, cotton, and cocoa. Haiti went on to win their own independence in 1804 becoming the first African-American led republic in the New World.

Haiti, originally  named by Taino Indians for its high ground, shares  Hispaniola with their spanish-speaking neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Occupying just the western third part of the island, Haiti still remains highly influenced by the French in its language, culture, and food. French cheeses, breads, and desserts have been integrated into the Haitian lifestyle. Haiti’s cuisine is often considered French or Creole; however the Spanish, African, and French influence make for a smorgasbord of flavor and a truly historical and  multi-cultural experience.

The difference between Haitian and other Caribbean cuisine in a word: Peppery

Method of cooking: Often slow coked and wrapped in banana or plantains and leaves for several hours. An African method of cooking is still employed today, using coals and placing them in a hollowed-out area of the ground. The food is then placed atop the coals with the leaves covering it for ultimate slow cooking results.

Try this at home: In the mood for a Haitian creole specialty, click here for a recipe for Haitian griot (fried pork).

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