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Behind the Wrinkles: Tales Untold

Understanding a Culture through Food - A food course worth a thousand words

EGYPT | Friday, 19 April 2013 | Views [281] | Scholarship Entry

Egypt is a county that embraces many cultures and human flavors within. Accordingly, no matter where you choose to roam in Egypt, food is one thing that is sure to capture your senses.
Egyptians are a people who know how to properly cherish food, and for them, food is an experience rather than the fuel that keeps their bodies running. Like many experiences in life, the more uptight and conservative you are, the more you miss out on the full beauty of it; thus, the richness of experiencing food is always inversely proportional to social class.
They say that sharing is caring, but in Egypt, this phrase is never taken lightly. It's sad how in a rapidly growing consumer world, we tend to forget about the human bond that unites us, yet Egyptian streets daily stand witness to total strangers taking the time to breaking the ice and enriching that bond; but so do dining tables. Unlike many cultures whose table manners imply that you only eat from your plate, an Egyptian meal is an occasion where everyone get together, and share food from plates that are served for everyone.
Loud is one thing that can usually describe any gathering in Egypt. And as loud as Egyptians are, so is their food. Blunt is a word that can never be found anywhere near an Egyptian menu. Among the wide array of flavors, garlic is one essence that is familiar to Egyptian dishes. Except that garlic seems to not only get to their tummies, but their temper as well. As mellow and friendly as Egyptians can be, just like a freshly chopped garlic, they can get zesty really quick!
No one ever said that happiness is solely exclusive to the rich, especially in Egypt. It's beautiful how they always find a reason to smile over the simplest things. And because they're aware of the joy food can bring, they tend to make the most out of their cattle. Oriental restaurants are famous for serving dishes that range from cows' intestines to hooves. Think that way, and you'll never approach it; but embrace whatever is served, shut your eyes and eat it, and you'll reconnect with the meaning of soul revival in seconds.
Let go. In order to feel the food, you must let go. Stop worrying about how you eat, or what you eat. Feel it. Use your hands. Let them get dirty with grease and flavors. Lick your fingers, and enjoy the flavors bursting at the tip of your tongue. You're only full of as much life as you allow yourself to enjoy. Don't let life pass you by while you're too busy following rules!

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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