Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Koshari Boom

In Egypt, the high price of meat and vegetables is driving an increase in koshari consumption:
"Kushari, often referred to as Egypt's national dish, has become a staple food for many. Usually served in a plastic container, it is layered from the bottom with rice, followed by macaroni, then lentils and chick peas and topped off with a hot sauce, tomato sauce, garlic and fried onions...

"With a kilo of meat costing a minimum of 35 Egyptian pounds -- around seven dollars -- and the daily earnings of millions of Egyptians being little more than one dollar a day, eating meat and vegetables becomes a luxury rather than a daily habit. Kushari, which is meat and vegetable free, has remained reasonably cheap -- the rise in wheat and grain prices has been offset by government subsidies...

"But even with all of the government's subsidies in place, the food crisis has continued to hit Egyptian homes hard. To counter this, the more affluent classes have stepped in to help.

"One such organisation is the Egyptian Food Bank, run by local businessmen and volunteers. It has a large warehouse in Cairo where rice, wheat, sugar and other goods are packaged for distribution to those most in need. The Food Bank also has drivers who pick up sandwiches and food left behind by the rich from hotels to distribute to the poor daily.

"A volunteer, working at a nearby mosque, is busy packaging up free dinners that will be delivered to poor areas of Cairo later. In Islam, charity is a duty among Muslims and so in this predominantly Muslim society, it is common to find people donating their time and money to help others. The volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous in hopes of increasing her good deeds, explains that it is her responsibility as a Muslim to help others in need."

The long-term health effects of this will probably be bad.



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