Monday, March 12, 2007

So what's in your food?

Ever wonder how the rest of the world lives when it comes to food cleanliness, especially in Egypt? Let me give you a hint: it's not as pasteurized as America. The food here may not be pasteurized but it is also not processed in any way; meaning no preservatives whatsoever.

If you want the really good milk you buy it fresh from the dairy store where it comes in a bag; probably 1 litre. It's not pasteurized; you take it home and boil it, let it sit and cool, then scrape off the top thick full cream called "ishta." I never liked ishta until I had it in my cappuccino -- yum!!

When you make lentil soup "adts" or cook rice, you rinse your lentils and rice thoroughly, picking out any little pebbles that might have gotten stuck in the bag. The same holds true for corn or "dora" that has been roasted and picked off the cob, salted and served in a small bag similar to dry roasted peanuts or "sudani." I found a pebble in my "dora" the other day.

Egyptians like to drink loose tea - not the big tea leaves but rather the fine, powdery tea, originating in Ethiopia and Kenya. However, be careful, you will find a small wooden shavings in your tea. I don't care, it makes the tea that much more delicious.

OK, this one tops all. I went to my favorite bakery tonight in the market "souk" here in Rehab and bought some small cheese-filled bread rolls "gibna" -- what did I find when I bit in to it? Yes, that's right, a built-in toothpick; not really but a splinter.

You may think that finding items in your food is dangerous; at first I did, but then got used to it. Germs here in Egypt don't spread like America; maybe it's attributed to the sun and the climate; I'm not sure. I never noticed the people here get as sick as Americans get -- I think it's all the fresh air (at least here in the desert), not the souvenirs found in food.



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