Home » My Egyptian Family Was Eager to Meet My American Husband—but What Would They Feed Him?

My Egyptian Family Was Eager to Meet My American Husband—but What Would They Feed Him?

by TopBusinessView


Eager aunties, uncles, and cousins kept asking him the same question: How do you find Egypt? They’d smile, waiting for him to tell them how much he loved it. Chris kept responding, “We just got here, so I haven’t seen anything yet.” I watched their hopeful faces fall until I couldn’t take it anymore. “You have to stop saying that,” I hissed. “Just tell them that you love it.” When the next relative came up with the inevitable question, he said, “I’m ready to move here!” They clapped him on the back, delighted that the American was pleased. 

The restaurant promised my family they could make a “vegetarian special” for the groom. I could feel so many eyes on us as a waiter set an enormous bowl of undressed lettuce—like, a whole head of lettuce—in front of Chris. He pierced a leaf with his fork and smiled at our audience. But my Uncle Adel, who was sitting immediately to Chris’s right, could see what was in the bowl. “What?” he said in his booming voice. “They think you are rabbit?” People a few tables over started to grumble—did the American not like his food? Was he unhappy? Chris, desperate to convince them that all was well, tucked into the lettuce, crunching vociferously.

After dinner we sipped tea and listened as the family traded stories about life back in our village, like the time the watermelon crop on my grandfather’s farm was so abundant that all nine children had to store watermelons under their beds. But Uncle Adel had disappeared. I assumed he was outside smoking a cigarette until suddenly a silver object came hurtling through the air and smacked Chris right in the chest. It was warm and wrapped in foil. The chatter stopped and, once again, all eyes were on my husband. He looked to me for reassurance, but I was just as confused. 

Uncle Adel stood grinning in the doorway. “Here, man, have some real food,” he said. Chris opened the package carefully. Inside was a ta’ameya sandwich—the Egyptian version of falafel, made with fava beans. Chris took a bite. This time there was no need to be polite. He devoured the entire sandwich in front of everyone. 

Now, years later, Chris and I often cook vegetarian versions of Egyptian classics—ta’ameya sandwiches or koshary or our favorite, eggplant musaqa’a— for our kids. Kids who have Arabic names and learn the words for many foods in Arabic before they learn them in English, despite the fact that we live in Connecticut. We take photos to send to the family. Here they are, the third generation, eating Egyptian food at a dinner table in America.

But still to this day, every time my dad comes by, he asks the same question: “Hey, Chris, do you eat fish?”

Aisha Abdel Gawad is a writer and high school English teacher. Her first novel, Between Two Moons, is out June 6.

Lentil Musaqaa in warm tinted ceramic pan

This version of Egyptian musaqa’a from author Aisha Abdel Gawad is a vegetarian spin, featuring hearty lentils and smoky eggplant.

View Recipe


Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

An online resource called TOP BUSINESS VIEW offers concise, in-depth, and clear articles about many fields. We are skilled in various areas, including fashion, business, food, technology, and health. Visit our website to see some truly fantastic content that will catch your attention. Contact us at topbusinessview@gmail.com

Edtior's Picks

Latest Articles