With the Holy Family In Egypt – where they stayed, foods they might have eaten


Here’s a mea culpa for getting this to you so late in the week.

 I hope to make it up to you with some fresh insight on the Holy Family’s stay in Egypt and some Coptic recipes culled from the vast Internet cookbook that, marvelously enough, includes recipes from Ancient Egypt. Can you beat that!

Suffice it to say, I had a marvelous time “in Egypt” last week attending “Egypt Fest” at Georgian Court University, Lakewood, where Egyptologist Henry Ayoub held forth for five days on the history, mystery and magic of Ancient Egypt. The sessions were packed with insight and illuminated by Ayoub’s package of projected visuals which opened doors to the Old and New Kingdoms and recent discoveries in Egyptian archaeology.

Ayoub also took us into the world of some really powerful women in Ancient Egypt — the Pharoah Hatshepsut, Queen Nefrititi, Queen Neferteri, et al. The presentations were eye opening and wonderful. That they came on the heels of a trip to New York to see the King Tut exhibit at the Discovery Center in Times Square which was alive with families all scrambling for a close up view of the art and furnishings of the famous boy king was a real treat.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely at Georgian Court and at the King Tut exhibit where we were terrifically surprised to find ourselves standing in line, with of all people, Dr. Zahi Hawaas, the dean of Egyptologists who delights us every week with more tales of Ancient Egypt on the History Channel.

Henry Ayoub at one time worked alongside Hawass so it was intrieguing to listen to his commentary. The sessions we enjoyed the most were on the Holy Family in Egypt and Coptic art and architecture because Ayoub skillfully filled in the blanks.

Thanks to an amazing Coptic web site http://www.holyfamilyegypt.com/map/index.htm you’ll basically be able to recreate Ayoub’s stop by stop lecture on the journey of Mary, Joseph and Jesus through Egypt. If you click on every stop, you can follow the family in their travels and actually see what pilgrims see when they walk they road trod. Enjoy your journey to Egypt.

Eggplants with Vinegar and Garlic

This is a popular Egyptian side dish eaten as a relish or pickle withmeals or as a snack in a pita bread sandwich. It can also be added to other sandwiches such as falafel to give more flavor. Use the regular dark purple eggplants available now in the markets not long and slender ones.

Ingredients: 1 large eggplant, cut and cubed; 2 green bell peppers; 4 cloves garlic; 1 tsp. salt; wine vinegar to taste; parsley to taste.

Directions: in a deep pan, boil the eggplant in salted water until tender, then drain and set aside and leave to cool.  Finely chop garlic, peppers and parsley then transfer them to a skillet with the eggplant and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and mix in the red vinegar, tasting as you go. Chill overnight before serving.

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