This is home sickness. This is my home sickness.
The nadi’s (club’s) Escalope panee: the best lunch in the world. It’s usually subsidized and is frequently ordered by the young but also especially the old members. An escalope with fries, and sautéed vegetables. Not necessarily known for its deliciousness, it’s a dish that has left a few generations feeling nostalgic whenever the word escalope would be brought
up. I recently heard that there’s a new restaurant that opened in Cairo, called akl el nadi (the club’s food). Seems like a failed idea, as the whole point is to adventurously eat it in such an environment in which you can be attacked by a crowd of evil crows or wild cats at any point. It only adds to its imagined deliciousness.
Taxi drivers: the best to talk to on the current situation, and if in a good mood, they might stop for a minute and buy a kilo of fruit and share with you. If in a bad mood or simply evil.. Well, you might cry.. (For the sake of home sickness let’s not get into details) If they’re nice and you’ve had a great chat, then they’d insist that you don’t pay at the end (khalli 3andak said around 5 times). But if you don’t pay, they’d get furious. But in usual situations, in which the driver is neither nice or nasty, if they don’t end up fighting with you at the end, then you know that the current country’s situation is to be worried about.
7awawshi: a sandwich covered in butter and served straight from the oven filled with meat (again source of meat unknown) and spices best if bought on Khalid ibn elwalid street in Alexandria. It has to be wrapped in old newspapers, otherwise what’s the point, really?! Stomach aches and diarrhea are to follow but it’s absolutely worth it.
Basterma: delicious dried meat (source of meat usually unknown) mixed with herbs. One of the herbs which is essential to the taste, has caused many to suffer especially on public transport. It’s especially delicious when cooked with eggs and stuffed in baladi bread and then squeezed really hard by the sandwich queen – maleket el sadawichaat ( my sister).
My mother’s driving: I am not allowed to talk to her throughout the journey. And when my late grandmother would sit next to her, she would stick out her entire arm out of the window to signal right for her. Windows are otherwise closed and music of Bruce Springsteen ( or anyone with a similar ba77a) is usually played.
The Marriott bakery: a place that used to house teenagers, who would only order water and try to finish a pack of cigarettes. This is until they decided to introduce a minimum charge, leaving me and my sister absolutely helpless for a while, until we all replaced it with coffee roastery, which minimum charge would only start at 7 pm. We’d arrive and order a small bottle of water at 6:45 of course.
Montaza: a beautiful environment that would make you want to run along the rusting cabins so fast while greeting everyone, and getting red lipstick all over your face (tante Amira, Sawsan, Amina, Pam and so on) . You keep running and you eventually hit your head on a metal rod causing you to stop. You fall.
Featured image is from here which is another nostalgic blog post on the 80s escalope panee in Cairo.