Sweet Middle East: Anissa Helou

I have a strong sweet tooth and often say it’s because my family name, Helou, means “sweet” in Arabic. In truth, that has nothing to do with it. Most people in the Middle East and North Africa have a serious penchant for all things sugary. Sweets occupy an important place in our lives, and every…

Olea Europaea : The European Olive

One of the oldest trees to be cultivated; at least 6000 years ago, the olive is a fruit that is popular worldwide and is also revered in most Mediterranean cultures.  By 3,000 BC, it was being grown in Crete and spread to Southern Europe and Africa through the Phoenicians; spread along the fertile crescent which includes some…

Journey to the heart of Turkish Cuisine

People are always eating and drinking around the clock in Istanbul: grabbing chewy sesame-crusted simit (bagels) on every street corner, sipping refreshing freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice, small glasses of sweetened tea or thick mastic-flavored Turkish coffee on their way to work, stopping at hole-in-the-wall döner and köfte joints for a quick snack or slurping bowls of chickpea and…

Bread and Salt

Bread, called nan in Persian, is the staple food of Iran in all regions except around the Caspian, where rice supplants it. Nan is a Persian word first used in Achaemenid Iran (550-330 BCE), from which all other languages borrowed it. In Iran, bread and salt are treated with great respect. The main Persian breads are flat breads but…

Persian Tea

Tea was discovered about 5000 years ago in China. In the early 17th century, tea was introduced to England and its Chinese name, tay, changed to the English name tea. In England, tea was brewed in china teapots. The English believed that a drop of milk in the teapot would prevent it from breaking and thus…

The World’s Most Expensive Salad

  Heinz Tomato Ketchup : 57 varieties. Not really. While riding in an elevated train in New York, H.J.Heinz was struck by a shoe shop sign declaring that it offered ’21 styles’. He was thus inspired to come up with the slogan ’57 varieties’ for his own company – even though at that stage it…

Once upon a potato…

Food history is SO much fun! I love reading about eating habits of people in the past or even things like how people considered certain things like potatoes and tomatoes poisonous and hence, inedible at some point. There are tons of food history books and there are some I recommend which you can see at the…

COMPOSING THE VIEW

Street sketching is obviously not the same as sketching everyday objects at home or at a restaurant or café where you’re comfortably seated and can take as much time as you’d like to get the sketch right. The activity of people and vehicles on the streets and roads makes it difficult to capture basic outlines,…

That time of the day…

Everyday holds magic and there’s a certain time, that special moment during the day when we feel good about everything. This ‘feeling good’ has nothing to do with external events. It is something that comes from within. That special time for me is in the afternoon. That’s why I prefer walking around the city during this time. I…

An Evening at Jal Mahal

Yesterday, I decided to take a break and visited the Jal Mahal near Amer. I wasn’t expecting as many people and went with my sketching kit. I was wrong- the place had a lot of visitors and that was quite a nice thing because it looked so colourful and lively. Of course, that made sketching…

New Year Resolution.

So my New Year resolutions this year are many. One of them is to sketch daily. I’m a bit late that way since it’s the 9th today but I shall upload earlier sketches anyway. This first post has a picture I drew of my current kit and color swatches of the paints I have used/ tried- Pebeo, Camel…