Siwan food, and Cadbury takes a bite

halawa, my favourite sweet treat; note the pyramids and palm tree branding

? the smallest chocolate bar ever – 13g

Siwa cooking book

You asked for more on food…this book on Siwan cooking was compiled by the writer of two excellent books on Siwa and Siwan women (see earlier entry on books about Siwa), and he tells me he has a other book on the way soon.

I hope to learn exactly how to prepare some of the dishes in this book directly from the Siwan women. Many of the recipes in the book appear very similar, as they use the base ingredients grown in the oasis, so I suspect many of the variations must be in the actual mixing, shaping and cooking techniques.

On a more Westernized note, I have found in Siwa what I think must be the world’s smallest chocolate bar. These 13 gram fingers are sold alone, they are not part of a pack of mini sized bars we are familiar with in Australia. Trust Cadbury to have capitalized on the market for smaller, less expensive sweets here. I think that two mini Halawa for the same price as the mini choc bar are the better option – and of course I like the pyramids and palm tree imagery on the wrapper. Those pyramids pop up everywhere here, even on plastic chairs – I’ll post a photo of those some day.

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6 Responses to Siwan food, and Cadbury takes a bite

  1. romaine says:

    hey there S,
    is it possible at all to get a copy of the siwan cook book in australia? [or is it on-line anywhere?]. would love to give some of those recipes a bash.

  2. anthonythomasassociates@gmail.com says:

    Thanks for keeping us up-to-date with what you are doing. Lovin the postins!
    The Cadbury bar situation is that I remeber when I was a kid (a long time ago), there were little penny bars of chocolate and two penny bars too. This post Dickens time!! I think small is a good idea, rather than eating a whole doorstep of chocolate. L s

    • siwasoul1 says:

      Many things in Siwa are a bit like “the good old days”. I am already in awe of our grandmothers and great grandmothers who would have washed everything by hand. Double bed sheets are fun, you may as well wash those in the bathroom, undressed, as you get a shower washing and wringing them out. Within the first week I replaced my heavy, plush Australian towel with a thinner one, so it is easier to wash, wring out, and dry.

      Just washing for one takes time, and then there is the daily sweep of house (sometimes twice a day if wind is up), so no wonder the women here can spend the whole day washing / cooking / cleaning for a family of many.

      Shopping also takes more time, as the person in the line in front of you is often up for a chat with the store owner, so you wait until they have fnished, or someone comes in while you are purchasing, and everything stops while they have a chat. The bakery and bank are the exceptions, because I am a woman I am expected to go to the front of the line there, and if I join the end of the line then every second man on it will insist I should move to the front. Haven’t established whether this is courtesy to women, so we don’t have to wait long (which can be in hot sun at the bakery, as the line for bread is outdoors), or because they prefer that we are not in close contact with the men, or even perhaps because they don’t want women listening to their conversation. Whichever is the case, getting the bread takes no time, you just have to be there at the two times a day the bakery actually produces – no bread left sitting on display between times. Bread comes unbagged, which is good as no wasted plastic or paper – I take my calico bag or other container to collect it, as it is so hot straight from oven that it burns your fingers in seconds if you try to carry it in your hands.

  3. anthonythomasassociates@gmail.com says:

    Yummmmmmmmmmm hot bread! l s

  4. gaiamethod says:

    Great Blog!!! I didn’t know you had this! Cadbury’s is just not the same in Egypt!!! I have resorted to eating sesame bars instead!!!

    • siwasoul1 says:

      Due to difference in taste of Cadbury here I only resort to it in moments of stress (like last week). You need to find a store that has a fridge that is actually cold (not just cool as many are here) and then eat it before it melts. But what I really miss is chocolate from Koko Black, http://www.kokoblack.com/ a small chain of specialty chocolate stores in Melbourne. First stop if I ever get back there for a visit…oh, and the picture you see of the rabbit sitting by the window at top of their website – this is actually what the upstairs of their city store looks like, it is in a historic arcade, and the store is furnished with deep leather chairs, and you can sit up there with a good friend, drink their wicked hot chocolate and ask for a selection of chocolates to be brought to you (mango and vanilla, cinnamon, and raspberry would be my choice), look out this window and watch people shopping in the arcade below. Great escape when it is raining in Melbourne. And after describing that, I have succeeded in making myself briefly homesick….something Cadbury’s can’t cure.

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