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 – XXXIII. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Food (18 of 18)

Some clarifications

Despite the fact that Flora had no experience when she started keeping house, she managed in time to be a necotchera wife. Necotchera is a Ladino word which means a good housewife, its equivalent in Yiddish is good balhabouste.

That said, I may have left you under the impression that my mother toiled day and night. That certainly wasn’t the case.

On special occasions, such as birthdays, when we received guests, or Jewish holidays, she cooked a variety of special dishes. Needless to say, a tremendous amount of work was involved. Obviously, she couldn’t do that all the time.

Daily, for lunch (the main meal of the day), she prepared meat, and vegetable dishes, and rice. As well, a salad was always made. There were always plenty of fruits and most of the time baked goods.

For supper, she occasionally made a soup: Vegetables, Bones and Beans, Lemony Egg-Drop, and other types of soups. Often, it was simply nawachefs: Eggs, cheese, cold cuts, sardines, yogurt, and so on. What I loved most was to be summoned and asked to go buy hot falafel. My mom would make tahini, yogurt salad, and serve with that pickled preserves (some examples: cucumbers, olives, turnips, beets and lemons). To my mind, this was a meal that you could serve to royalty!

My dad also worked hard. But Nessim and Flora left plenty of time for rest and relaxation.

My mother had one or more neighbors dropping by during the day. Remember, there were no phones, they just showed up at the door. Actually, most of the time, the door was not locked, therefore, they just walked in!

Flora made a Turkish coffee, and the ladies sat and talked for one or two hours. You would have thought they had nothing else to do.

Nessim would think nothing of spending two hours with a customer and discuss little or no business.

On some nights, neighbors and/or relatives visited, and we spend hours talking or playing cards.

The sense of urgency that prevails in today’s society did not exist then. The pace of life was more relaxed. As I reminisce about those days, I cannot help wondering if by submitting to the demands of our age of technology, we have not lost some of our humanity in the process.


1) Ful Medames (Egyptian Brown Fava Beans) Epicurious April 2009 Claudia Roden The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

2) Ful Medames Recipe (Egyptian slow-cooked fava beans)

3) Falafel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4) Recipe: Kobeba Samakeyah/Food

5) Kibbe or Kobeba Aimee Kligman

6) What is mastic?

7) Clarified Butter – Kitchen Notes – Cooking For Engineers

8) The Vanished World of Egyptian Jewry

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