I have been moved.
By images of mango trees, hot days and markets seething with hawkers and melon sellers.
Images of Cairo and Egypt in an era passed- where manners and strict class division separated the well-to-do from the working classes. I have been carried away on a fragrant story of one woman's formative years and her longing to see it all again.
Apricots on the Nile is the story of food writer Colette Rossant's childhood in Egypt. And it is a beautiful book. At 178 pages it's easy to devour almost in a single afternoon- with recipes to try out at dinner time.
A story of summers spent at holiday houses in Alexandria, of a mother who constantly left her behind and of the kitchens where she found solace in the company of the family cooks and their food.
Rossant writes of an Egypt that is no more- but she does it with such eloquence, such passion and such evocative description that you almost breath the same air as her memories.
It's a beautiful book, full of recipes and charming anecdotes that remind us that garlic should be eaten in great quantities and that a party is not a party without party food.
It's a book that made me hungry for life. A book that made me long to delve into my own memories of food. But above all it was a book that made me want to play in the kitchen.
What a memoir!
And it got me wondering...
What are the recipes that really bring your childhood to life?
What are the defining food moments that are an intrinsic part of who you are?
Where did those recipes come from and which ones will you one day pass on?
I'm going to start documenting this question and ask it to whoever I can. Better yet, if you have a food memory or recipe from your childhood that you would like to share, feel free to pass it on. I'd love to hear about it.