Jacqueline was born and raised in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. This ancient city on the east bank of the Nile is the largest city in Africa and is known for the Pyramids of Giza close to the city. Jacqueline moved to The Hague nineteen years ago for her husband's work. She tells us about the rich history of Egyptian cuisine and the importance of tea and sweets in Egypt.
Jacqueline thinks that the rich history and diversity makes Egyptian cuisine different from other cuisines. “There are many dishes that are vegan or easy to make vegan. So traditionally, the Egyptian kitchen has been an innovative kitchen ”. Besides, the social aspect and variety also play a major role, she says. “It is always a big thing when people come to eat. When there is a special occasion, a variety of dishes is prepared. It provides a lot of fun and connection. During dinner, the table is always completely set with different dishes. ” This variation is important, she explains, because by preparing various dishes you show that you have done your best to make the guests feel welcome.
“During dinner, the table is always completely set with different dishes.”
Jacqueline's favorite dish is Mahshi. “These are stuffed grape leaves with rice, vegetables and possibly meat. Very tasty!". Besides butter, rice is an essential ingredient for cooking in Egypt. In addition, it is typical that quantities are not taken into account during cooking. “Many recipes are passed on from generation to generation here. We hardly ever use kitchen scales. We really cook intuitively! ”.
"Many recipes are passed down from generation to generation."
Egyptian cuisine is a very ancient cuisine. “Due to Egypt's colonial past, the country has experienced various other food cultures. In the time of the Ottoman Empire, dishes were exchanged. We took dishes from them and they took recipes from us. This happened again due to the French and English occupation in the 18th and 19th centuries. The location in the Middle East also ensures a lot of variation. It is great that this rich history is being continued. ”
Finally, Jacqueline tells us that tea is one of the most popular drinks in Egypt. “It is a drink that you can get anywhere and drink at all times. At the beginning of the afternoon, when you receive guests, but also to end the evening. Besides, it is drunk a lot in cafes, together with Egyptian coffee (similar to Turkish coffee). Tea is suitable for any occasion.” To balance it, tea is often served with all kinds of treats. Egyptians have a real sweet tooth. “We don't usually think about our diet when eating these treats,” says Jacqueline laughing. “It often contains a lot of sugar, because it has to taste really sweet. ”