Archive for June, 2011
I love Egyptian food and even though I’m a vegetarian there are plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy without meat. There’s foul, a sort of bean paste which has many different varieties and which I ate at least 4 times a week (7 times a week for breakfast and dinner during field work), there’s humus, a chickpea paste that also has many varieties. Lentil soup is also one of my favorites but the most delicious dish is definitely baba ganough, a paste made out of eggplant. All these dishes are usually eaten with fresh baladi bread. I love baba ganough and I used to eat it with my friends late at night after we visited an exhibition, during Iftar (breaking of the fast during Ramadan) or Suhoor (the pre-dawn breakfast), or just on a night out chatting, having drinks and eating bread with foul. My friends grew accustomed to my baba ganough obsession and would order a dish of baba ganough especially for me. Baba ganough became my second name.
I haven’t eaten baba ganough since I came back to the Netherlands in January; until yesterday! Yesterday I went into an Arab/Turkish shop and I found baba ganough. It is so weird the way a small tin of food can bring back so many memories, happy ones in this case, unlike the sight of jelly pudding which I hate because I was forced to eat it in hospital when I was very little and sick.
I ate the baba ganough with Lebanese bread and of course it wasn’t the same thing. All circumstances had changed: there was not the smell of shisha, it wasn’t 40C and I wasn’t sticking to a plastic chair, the air wasn’t buzzing with energy, no noise of crazy traffic and people, no smell of exhaust fumes, no people selling me handkerchiefs, but above all my friends weren’t there.
Nevertheless this tiny tin of baba ganough did bring back some good memories of people and a country I feel very affectionate about.