Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Daily Bread

I never met a bread I didn't like.

This is the preparation of one of my favorite Egyptian breads:  oris.  You can't just walk into a bakery and pick up a bag.  It's one of those specialty items which is homemade.  

My husband knows I crave it every now and then.  It's got this sweet sour dough crusty taste.  The key ingredient is high quality butter.   When my husband wants to treat me to oris, he secretely buys some of the better butter and gives it to his sister and mother for them to use in the recipe.  I swear that the recipe seems from Pharaonic times.


\This was supposed to be a picture of a full circle of oris but I took a bite before I remembered that it was the last one.  So, that's me and my oris a few seconds before I devoured it.

I know you're probably thinking that the Middle East is all pita bread.  It isn't. 

It isn't called pita bread here, by the way.   It's called, aish balady; country bread.

The poor can buy five of these little rounds for 25 piastres.  The government subsidises it. 

The well-to-do don't eat aish baladi even though it's the healthiest alternative.  They eat the phyllo rolls like this.  I think these are about half a pound each. Think French bread.

The kids' sandwiches at school are all in these.  It's funny for me to see how the sandwich bags are long and rectangular to accomodate the shape of this bread. 

This is a pate which should be filled with cheese but instead has a smear of cheese taste.  It's OK.  This little pastry is a welcome addition to any breakfast.  I like to cut mine open and add some apricot jam.

This is the dry bread.  I don't eat it unless I have to.  It tastes good!  But the edges could do some damage to your mouth.  The family wets it before eating it but I don't do that since they use tap water.

Ma-rah-rah!  I love saying it!  This is a dry bread too but is more like a chip.  It can be a nice snack cracker, crouton, and even as a cereal.  The children love it.

All of these breads are considered Allah's blessing.  To see bread on the floor or ground is to witness a very haram action.  If we are walking and my husband sees any baked good in our path, he stops and picks it up to get it out of the shoes trampling through. 

Subhanallah that we could be so reverent about bread!

May Allah give us our daily bread.


MarieHarmony said...

I loved the bread in Egypt! I was so happy my sister-in-law added some in my husband bag when he came back home. I miss home-made bread.
Thanks for this nice post Yosra which bring back many good memories (can even smell it!)

Have a lovely day.

Kate said...

in Algeria too, bread is so much more than the "cutlery" we eat our food with...
here in algeria my children will often come home from the bakery with a couple of inches taken off the top of the baguettes...

people they know will pass and grab a bit before moving on...I love the way Egyptians call bread "aish" It gives it such importance mashallah...

what do you do with your stale bread in Egypt? We have stale bread tables literally everywhere where people will take their old bread, then it gets used as sheep food!

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Marie,

I sometimes forget that you've got an Egyptian hub. Yaay for husbands who have nice bread. There's something so comforting in those carbs. My mother-in-law made fresh bread again today. HAPPY! I'll share some with you on your next visit inshahallah :)

Asalamu Alaykom Kate,

How fun to hear from you in Algeria. Yes, bread in North Africa means life. Alhumdulillah for it.

We do give the old bread to our most recent goat. The goat is only with us until the birth of the new baby inshahallah---NOT my baby. My sister-in-law is due. So, our newest goat is soon to be slaughtered inshahallah (hence my naming it, 'Deadsoon').

I love the idea of a world of us women connecting happily through the blogs. Thanks for reminding me what a small world it is.

Salma @ Chasing Rainbow said... hubs does the same thing with the bread on the street as well.
Ha ha sad Yosra, but you made me laugh.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Salma,

Nice that our men are so caring about Allah's blessings :)

I would like for my man to avoid picking it up off the road when the trucks are speeding through. Inshahallah, his good acts will not cost him his life.

Okay, so the deal with Deadsoon is that you have to overpronounce the sOOOn (as if you were speaking Chinese). As an Asian name, it's almost lyrical. I don't think the goat minds being Egyptian or Chinese. It's not really got enough time on its hooves to contemplate those matters. He's got food, fresh air and sunlight with a great view of the pyramids. Let's just let him have a happy week or two inshahallah :)

Glad you got a laugh!

Nice to hear from are all into Rainbow so you might be into the They Might Be Giants song Roy G. Biv. It's on youtube. I like it. Catchy tune with a good scientific message. I've just used it at school and the kids liked it. Let me know what you think :)

Anonymous said...

Asalamu Alaykom

We were in Egypt right after the revolution. Of all the wonders of the world, we remember the Aish Baladi made in a restaurant on the way to Saqara.

Will you be able to post an authentic recipe from those kind always smiling women who make those breads.

Plese post if you know any place in NYC where they make the real Aish Baladi with wheat bran and all.


Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Visitor,

You were BRAVE to come to Egypt at that time. The Egyptians didn't travel around that winter at all. In many ways, we are still limiting our movement.

We do, however, eat a LOT of aish balady :) I don't have a recipe for it. I'm sure there are many on the web under the Egyptian category.

Let me know if you find a good recipe.

Wishing you my best!