Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – XX. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Food (5 of 18)

Other food

As in all other cuisines, we had many different ways of preparing vegetables, potatoes, meat, and chicken. We had a wide variety of fish which we cooked or fried. Broiling and grilling was not possible, for as you will see, many of the implements of a modern kitchen were not at our disposal. We did, however, enjoy charcoal-grilled fish when we went to restaurants which specialized in grilled meat and fish.

One thing worth mentioning, we fried chips at home. You haven’t lived if you haven’t tasted hot chips. It’s light-years away from cold chips coming out of a package!

There were few ready things in those days. You couldn’t for example buy a jar of jam or pickled green olives. My mother had to buy, in season, all the necessary items and preserve them. (I had an aunt in Alexandria who bought fresh sardines and preserved them!)

One of the many foods my mom pickled were lemons! It was lemons preserved in lemon juice and an obscene amount of salt. Not a food item your doctor will ever recommend!

Flora baked a lot of treats. Since we had no range, the maid took it to the baker, and there, for a fee, it was baked. Sometimes, his oven was too hot, and the baked goods were carbonized! Fortunately, this rarely happened.

We used for baking, and for medicinal purposes, mint extract, maward (rose extract), and mazahr (orange blossom extract). I used to love the days when mom prepared those extracts. We had a still reserved for this purpose only. And drop by drop, through the day, the flowers and mint leaves were distilled and bottled. (Let me stress again that the still was used to distill only the above mentioned plant items!).

There are so many other types of food that I can describe, but, I am forced to draw the line somewhere. Therefore, I will talk of only one more kind: Mastic.

Mastic is the resin that exudes from the bark of the mastic tree. This tree is a Mediterranean evergreen found in the Southern part of Chios, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Today, mastic is also cultivated in Asia Minor and in the Middle East.

Mastic when chewed is elastic and has an exquisite aroma. Thus, first and foremost, it is a chewing gum; and it is far superior to present day chewing gum. Since it goes back to antiquity, people have been chewing it for thousand of years!

It is also added to cakes and jams. It lends an elastic consistency, adds a wonderful scent, and otherwise elevates an ordinary preserve of jam to an exquisite treat.

I remember with fondness my mother’s jams that included mastic. As a snack, they were delectable.

But it is in ice cream that mastic exerted its special magic. Your ice cream stretched, melted in your mouth, while enveloping you in an enchanting aroma. I don’t know if ice cream with mastic exists in your part of the world, if it does, you owe to yourself to try it at least once in your life. And here is an idea: If you’re a manufacturer of ice cream, add mastic to it, and offer it to your clientele. They’ll thank you for it, and their gratitude will nicely pad your bottom line.

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