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Food Memoirs & Contest

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Memoirs with recipes must be my favorite book genre. It all started just a few years back when I fell in love with a long ago time and place in Egypt. I was captivated by Colette Rossant's Apricots on the Nile (in the US it was called Memories of a Lost Egypt). Rossant writes about growing up in a boisterous Sephardic household in Egypt. Everything is described so vividly--her extended family, her school experiences, the trouble she gets into, and especially the food she eats.

The book is filled with wonderful memories and equally wonderful recipes. Rossant spends time with her French relatives in France and includes the recipes from there as well. Somehow reading the recipes makes the rest of the book all the more real. Recipes aside, how can you not love a book with a chapter called "Student Life, Saucisson Sec, and Swimming Pools"?

More recently I've been enjoying Diana Abu-Jaber's memoir The Language of Baklava. Abu-Jaber's book also includes an extended Middle Eastern family, this time Jordanian, but living in the US. Like Rossant, she grows up in two cultures and her memories are also tied to food. But with trips back and forth to Jordan you get a taste of both places. And of course, recipes. Much of the food has magical powers or so it seems, which will make you even more eager to try the recipes.

And now...a contest! Thanks to publisher Pantheon we have a copy of The Language of Baklava to give away to the first three people who correctly answer the trivia question below. Choose the correct answer and post it in the comment section (note: you must register your email address when you respond so we can contact you, your mailing address must be in the US)

In Egypt, which of the following typical dishes do you serve if you really want to show someone you love them?


a) Mahshi bel Loz (stuffed pigeon)

b) Konafa (Egyptian baklava)

c) Ful (Brown Fava beans)

d) Mehlokheya (peasant soup)

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