By far, the most exciting thing about Egyptian Christmas is the food. As I mentioned in the last post, the amount of food is rather absurd. Food is generally an important part of our culture. After 43 days of fasting, it means so much more.
Typically, January 6th runs a little differently than it did this year. It’s usually my mom and my grandma making the food. Once my sisters and I come home from school, we help how we can before we have to get ready to go to church. This year, my grandmother was in Egypt and I’m the one who stayed home with mom.
We got up at 7 AM. And thus, our journey began.
After a day of last minute shopping, lots of cooking, a few quick naps, and a constant rotation between a live stream of the Coptic Christmas Service in Egypt or Bassem Youssef , here are the grand results!
(All pictures courtesy of Google Images because I was too busy eating to take pictures of our food. Also, keep in mind that there are only 5 of us. And, a week later, we’re still finishing all the food.)
Confession: I don’t actually like Turkey that much. But it’s become a tradition of sorts and the rest of the fam likes it, so you know.
2. Macarona Bachamel
It’s basically like lasagna but better. It has French origins, but the dish you would eat in Egypt is very different than what you would eat in France. We had two full sized pans.
Thin slices of beef that are breaded and fried and taste like heaven.
4. Chicken Baneh
It’s basically boftek, but with chicken. Yes, we have to have both.
There are a thousand ways to make kofta. Egyptian, Iraqi, and Indian kofta won’t taste the same. Even in my family, we make it three different ways which all taste different and amazing. It’s ground beef with a bunch of other stuff mixed in that depend on where you’re from. How you cook it also changes the flavor. Regardless, there is no nation where kofta isn’t good.
Shorba means soup, except it almost always refers to Chicken noodle soup. My mom and sister like to use it to make this thing called tase’ia, which is basically a combination of bread, rice, and soup.
It has these noodle things in them. Mom also makes it with brown rice sometimes because it’s healthier.
8. Homemade Pita Bread
A few years ago, we stopped buying Pita bread entirely because my mom’s bread is that good. It’s also healthier because she makes it with whole wheat instead of white flour.
9. Bleu Cheese
My whole family loves it. I’m basically obsessed. It’s become a staple in our household, and pretty much tradition for Christmas and Easter dinner at this point.
10. Black Tea
I dare you to find an Egyptian home after a meal who isn’t drinking tea. Even if it’s caffeinated. Even if it’s past midnight.
Sometimes we have seafood. Sometimes we have ghoulash (no relation to the Hungarian version), which is like Baklava, except with meat and other stuff. Sometime we have shwarma, made popular by The Avengers. Sometimes we have lamb kebabs, which is the only proper way to eat kebabs.
My family also has a post dinner tradition of Haagen Dazs ice-cream. Another family staple.
All of this for a family of five. I can’t imagine what Christmas would be like if we lived in Egypt and had dinner with our extended family.