The event was the Taste of Egypt Festival which was so yummy it was unbelievable! We got to enjoy some wonderful cooking lessons from Mary Nessim Khair. This remarkable woman wrote the book From the Banks of the Nile to the Shores of the Great Lakes that details her life as she moves from her home in Egypt to her American home in Wisconsin and all her truly fantastic adventures in between. This amazing book has true life moments and wonderful story telling. It has tasty recipes and beautiful poetry. My favorite of her poems is about a loofah, it makes me smile thinking about this scrubber as the villian.
The Loofah Torture
It only took two years
And the loofah followed me.
The loofah always made a red tomato out of me.
My mother used to say, "Scrub your knees."
"Europeans don't use a loofah," I said,
So I bought a dozen sponges
And I said to mother "See?"
My Mother said "Scrub your knees."
Then I came to the land of gold
And thought, "The loofah won't find me."
It only took two years
And the loofah followed me,
"I will not let the loofah ever torture me."
But then I heard my mother's voice:
"Scrub your knees."
So I bought a brand-new loofah and I let it torture me.
Her cooking is Divine let me tell you. While at the fest we had lessons on stuffed grape leaves, baklava, and a very versatile baked pasta. Thankfully there was lots of tasting!!!
Here is Sarah learning how to properly stuff a grape leaf. Having traveled to Egypt on a trip she was ecstatic to learn how to make these herself and even bought some jarred grape leaves to make the dish at home. She promised to make us some soon. We will hold her to that for sure.
We got a lesson on how to clean and prepare the jarred leaves for cooking.
Oh yeah, more food. This was my first experience with Egyptian food and I proudly say it was not what I expected......it was better. While some of the dish names where ones I knew the tastes were different. There were different spices used to dress a dish that really brought out the emotions you get when you have food cooked with culinary skill brought from homelands afar.
Sigh......I wish I had that plate right there for dinner!
We had a wonderful tour of this beautiful church and learned quite a bit about the Coptic faith. It was a great day: we ate, we learned, we laughed, and we met some very kind welcoming people. Mary Nessin Khair was so giving in that she signed a copy of her amazing book for us to give away on the blog. If you would like to be entered to receive your own autographed copy of
From the Banks of the Nile to the Great Lakes
please comment below. We would love to hear about your favorite cultural event or festival. Maybe a treasured recipe from your families homeland. Or a traditional poem or song long loved by you. You can comment anytime between now and September 26 and one random comment will be chosen to get to add this great book to their collection.
I hope you have had a great summer and have all your creative minds whirring for fall fun.
Keeping it festive,
Kelly, the origami ninja