During this shelter in place, my friends and I have started using zoom for both our classes and to interact with each other. Lately we have been having digital pot lucks with each other. My friend from Indonesia showed us all how to make dumplings from her kitchen, my friend David from Mexico and his mom showed us how to make flour tortillas and how to wrap the perfect burrito, my boyfriend Mike and his sister whose parents are Egyptian showed us how they make cheese goulash and so on. We are all big foodies and it’s amazing to see how similar all our dishes truly are. They all consisted of meat or cheese being wrapped in flour. So much can be learned about another culture based on the foods that they most use. Ive talked in a prior blog post about the significance of corn to Mexican cuisine, the same way that vegetables are essential in many asian dishes and they way that their spices and sauces give their foods new flavors. When it comes to Egyptian food the way that the food is cooked also gives way to the culture behind the people cooking it. Egyptian is a muslim majority country with 85-90% of the population being Sunni Muslims. My boyfriend and his family make up the minority religion which is Coptic Christians. Their food and cooking is vastly different to that cooked by other Egyptians. The food that the Coptic Christians cook most closely resembles a Mediterranean diet closely resembling that of Greece where there are many other Coptic Christians.
During a time of social distancing breaking bread, tortilla or dumpling through a web camera has helped my friend group stay together and get to know more about each other. It has also been nice to see my friends mom and grandmothers join in and share the knowledge they have about food. Watching Davids mom, Señora O’Campo show us how to flip a tortilla only using her hands brought back memories of watching my grandmother in Colombia slip tortillas on her stove.