All / Originally Posted on Skirt

Kitchen Conundrums

Just because I’ve found an apartment doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing from now on, my friends.  Oh, no.

We have a lovely gas oven and stove, but they are extremely old fashioned.  To use the oven, you have to turn the gas on and then basically throw a match in a little hole in the oven floor, then it goes FOOMF! and if you haven’t burned your face off it works very well.  

I wanted to bake a potato today, so I lit my match first and then turned the gas on, figuring that would be the safest option.  Then I chucked it towards the little hole but it must’ve gone out on the way because nothing happened though I could still hear the gas hissing.  I panicked and turned it off, thinking to myself, “Oh sweet Jesus I’m going to die because of a potato!”

Then I lit another match and turned on the gas again and what do you know it worked just fine this time around.  My baked potato came out very tasty, by the way. 

I’m still getting used to the big supermarket near our house.  I thought at first that it just sold groceries, but it turns out that it’s more like a department store with batteries, excercise equipment, kitchen accoutriments and beauty products all under one roof.  It’s a little quirky though.  For one thing, the escalator only turns on if you’ve stepped past a certain point on the metal plate by the end.  You’re walking up to it, walking, walking, walking, and it’s completely still so you think you’re just going to have to climb the stairs, oh well and then suddenly GNNRRRRR!! the escalator starts going and you have to be pretty quick-footed not to fall over when you step onto the moving parts.

I tried to buy some frozen samboussek there yesterday.  Samboussek is my favorite Egyptian dish.  It’s basically little fried dumplings full of meat or cheese and spices.  Sometimes it’s made with phyllo dough and sometimes with that sort of fried egg-roll skin stuff.  So I got out a packet and checked on the back to be sure you could bake them in the oven instead of deep-frying them and sure enough these would be fine. 

Later that night I made one of the other girls turn the oven on (I wasn’t up to doing it myself yet) and while it heated up I unwrapped all the packaging.  Instead of delicious samboussek, inside the package I found…a lot of frozen phyllo dough.  I looked at the dough.  I looked at the package with pictures of scrumptious piping-hot samboussek on it.  I turned the package over and realized that the instructions included the phrase: “fill with filling of your choice” before the baking part.  Oops. 

It’s very hot here again today, just when I thought it was finally starting to cool off to a nice manageable 85 degrees.  When I walk past the window I can feel the heat pushing in.  One of my roommates is here; we were trying to sustain a conversation earlier in the afternoon but by mutual agreement had to go into our seperate rooms and have a nap because of the heat.  No wonder everything works so slowly in Cairo.