Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some Tea with Your Sugar?

Much of the day was spent listening to saws, hammers, sanders, and a Coptic mass intoning out of a mobile phone speaker. As strange as it may seem, these sounds were sweet to my ears because I've been waiting a month for the screen doors to be installed. Two men arrived at 10:30am and departed at 5:30pm. Their sole fortification for those 6 hours was 3 cups of tea -- heavily sugared. I filled the sugar bowl with the first tea service, and it was near empty with the last.

It's estimated that every Egyptian consumes 34 kilograms of sugar per year (compared to 29 kg in the US). At 1/8 cup of sugar per cup of tea, I can vouch for the veracity of this estimate, but only when I remember that 32% of the population is under the age of 14.

I am surrounded by sugar cane fields, which yield some of the 1,075,184 metric ton of sugar produced in Egypt each year. 136 million hectares of fertile Egyptian soil is dedicated to sugar cane. The 2010 crop is being harvested now, mostly by hand, with much effort exerted by man and beast. But that's a story for another day. For the present, I'm just thankful that the workmen had enough oomph to get the job half done. And I'll bake oatmeal raisin cookies tonight to accompany their tea tomorrow.

7:10PM UPDATE: Cookies are in the oven. For those interested in cookie recipes, I can certainly recommend the Joy of Baking's version for large cookies. I shamefully admit that I have tested the recipe several times in the past few months. I don't use the nuts because I'm having trouble finding anything but peanuts in Luxor, so my stash of walnuts purchased in Cairo is being saved for something special.

1 comment:

  1. The Oatmeal cookies sound delicious. I will have to find some vanilla... and then the oatmeal!