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When I wasn’t married food didn’t worry me. I lived in London on my own since the age of eighteen, so fending for myself food-wise basically meant frequenting the different restaurants on Edgware Road. It was practical. I lived just off Edgware Road so why would I go anywhere else when there was tabouli, shawerma, shish tawooq, batata 7ara right on my door step.

Until I was 24 when I finally married the man that stole my heart at the age of 22 I hardly spent any time cooking and any culinary activity that took place in my kitchen was pouring milk over cereal. I have to admit that for the first three months of our marriage we did splash out on eating out and ordering take-ways or deliveries – you know, we were still in honeymoon mode. But we knew it couldn’t last and so I headed out to Waterstones and spent hours browsing the cookery section. I picked up some books on Middle Eastern cookery in an attempt to replicate the delicious meals I had on Edgware Road during my student years.

 As someone who never thought they would find satisfaction in cooking I was slightly shocked at how now I love spending time in our kitchen. We’re entering our eighth month of married life and I’ve realised that I seem to have a knack for cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I’ve also found myself collecting recipe’s from all over, things on tv, articles on the net, from my mum, Karim’s mum and especially from Karim’s dad’s wife who is a phenomenal cook. We’ve actually established an internet relationship where she’d send me and e-mail saying “Amira, I’ve tried out this new recipe. Try it on Karim.” – case in point, yesterdays Chicken Parmesan Bake! I do have to make some modifications though. Like Karim and I LOVE salt (I know, I know, its bad for us) but Tante Maysoon (Karim’s dad’s wife) doesn’t put as much salt as we do (due to health reasons) and so her instructions of ¼ teaspoon results in 2 teaspoons. Or when she gave me the recipe for musakhan and says use a whole chicken – a whole chicken for a family of four fine, but for two people no, so I ended up using just chicken drumsticks.

In all honesty I always found myself recoiling from the kitchen, not wanting to be labelled as that stereotypical Arab woman who slaves away chopping dicing onions, slicing peppers, boiling broth and whatnot. But my love for my forays into the culinary world goes way beyond my reluctance to appear as the clichéd wife.



What in the World am I doing…

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