On the street corners in Cairo, finding a vendor or a small shop that sells flat-bread sandwiches stuffed with falafels is not a difficult thing to do. The locals and tourists gather around falafel stands to enjoy this ultimate favorite street food of Egypt. While a couple dozens of falafel balls were thrown into a huge wok filled with steaming oil, the seller took a piece of already-halved flat bread and skillfully stuffed it with these fried fava bean balls, a handful of fresh red tomatoes and lettuce in about a minute, and finished it up with a generous scoop of tahini sauce made of sesame. Although the falafel sandwich I had looked and tasted a bit different from the one I had in the United States, I was glad to be able to connect my expectation to the experience.
However, what I had not anticipated was the incredible similarity between the cuisine of Egypt and those of its neighboring countries, especially east of Egypt, such as Syria and Lebanon. Not only the common items such as falafel, hummus and kebab, but the ingredients like eggplant, tomatoes, beans, lamb, and various spices, and moreover the way they think of a typical meal had lots of things in common. For example, a decent meal starts with flat breads and dips such as hummus and tahini, and several mezzes (side dishes), such as bababhannuug or salad. The grilled meat (kebab) or chicken dish is a typical main dish, followed by heavily honey-sweetened desserts like baklava or basbosa (made with cornmeal). While of course there are dishes that are specific to each region, for example the national soup made of a plant called mulukhiya in Egypt, this similarity in cuisine or this widely shared food culture in the region was surprising to me.
Despite the less than desirable weather that has characterized the first half of the term, spring in the Arb is in full swing! The Cannon River is experiencing a discharge rate (~2500 cubic feet per second) that is significantly higher than the average value (868 cubic feet per second) for this time of year. This combined with runoff from the surrounding landscape has created patches of seasonal flooded forest habitat that is used by a variety of species. Look for herons and many species of both migratory and resident waterfowl including wood ducks, blue-winged teal, mallards, coots, and mergansers occupying this unique and ephemeral niche.
Spring has finally arrived at Carleton after four long weeks of anticipation. How is the ACT Center celebrating, you ask? Well, the green bikes, Al Gore and Kermit, have finally emerged from Watson storage after a long winter. An important note to those interested: the bikes are huge. No seriously, I am 5’9’’ and I could not even reach the pedals on one of them. You have been warned.
We arb naturalists have been excited to see the migratory waterfowl moving through lately. Some of these birds are only around campus for as little as two weeks as they head north for the summer. Some highlights from our recent waterfowl expedition include: hooded mergansers (a personal favorite), common mergansers, lesser scaups, coots, redheads, canvasbacks, gadwalls, goldeneyes, buffleheads, ring billed gulls and a flock of about 40 pelicans!
Carleton College will host a series of special events Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, as part of its annual Foro Latinoamericano (Latin American Forum).
- St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to perform in Skinner Chapel
- Adviser on Middle East foreign policy to give talks on democracy
- Wesley Snipes to serve three years in jail for tax evasion
Saeyoon Baik shares a recipe that showcases artisan cheese in preparation for this weekend's 2nd annual cheese tasting event by Slow Food Carleton Convivium
- Author of critically acclaimed Hmong memoir to discuss book
- Carleton’s ENTS lecture series continues with an economist’s view on climate change
- Senior Hoover Institution Fellow to present talk on democracy
- Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon spotted together in Las Vegas
Saeyoon Baik shares a recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Almond and Sultana Raisins from her Moroccan host mother on the Middle East Mosaics Program