egypt Welcome to Ain Shams University
Literature and food culture in others ... Online Ramadan evening at the Faculty of Al-Alsun
Literature and food culture in others ... Online Ramadan evening at the Faculty of Al-Alsun

The Cultural Committee of the Postgraduate Studies and Research Sector, at Faculty of Al-Alsun, Ain Shams University, organized a Ramadan evening, via video conference, entitled "Literature and Food Culture of the other", under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Mahmoud El-Metini, President of the University, Prof. Dr. Ayman Saleh, Vice President for Postgraduate Studies and Research, Prof. Dr. Salwa Rashad, Dean of the Faculty, and under the supervision of Prof. Ashraf Attia, Vice Dean for Postgraduate Studies and Research and Prof. Youmna Azmy, head of the committee.

Dr. Samar Mounir, a teacher in the German language department at the faculty, spoke at the evening about the food culture based on two books she translated: “Tea: Cultures, Rituals, Stories” by the German writer Christoph Peters and “The Pomegranate: History and Tales from Around the World” by the German writer Bernd Brunner. Arab House for Publishing and Distribution.

Dr. Samar Mounir excerpts from the book "Tea: Cultures, Rituals, Stories" in which the writer Christophe Peters examined the tea culture in Japan, China, Egypt, Turkey, England and Germany; In a country like Japan, tea has a great value and status that goes beyond being a mere drink that increases attention and focus. In many Japanese homes there is a room dedicated to preparing tea, and in this regard the author shed light on the rituals of drinking tea that are associated with preparing tea in Japan, which are spiritual rituals that one does not master until after a long training. With him specially prepared utensils and tableware for preparing Japanese matcha tea, he showed the Egyptian audience the rituals of preparing and serving that tea, a ritual that requires great focus and mastery that the writer did not reach until after many years of training and practice.

In Egypt, tea accompanies various discussions, whether political or social discussions, which reduces their intensity. But in a country like England, preparing tea with milk is linked to social differences. The lower classes of society put milk before tea in porcelain pots that are cheap so as not to break, while the upper classes of society boast of having the finest. Types of porcelain and put tea in the pot before the milk to show that class distinction, and varieties of tea in China vary greatly, and the price of one hundred grams of some of them amounts to thousands of euros.

Likewise, the book "Pomegranate: History and Tales from Around the World" by the German writer Bernd Brunner takes us on a journey around the world through different times, accompanied by the fruit of the pomegranate.

The writer focused on the role that pomegranate fruits played in different civilizations, especially the ancient Egyptian civilization. Pomegranate fruits appeared in graffiti in Egypt from the middle of the second millennium BC. Where the naturalist "George Schweinfurt" found the remains of the pomegranate plant in the plant remains of the Twelfth Dynasty (1970-1800 BC) in the great cemetery of "Draa Abul Naga" on the west bank of the Nile River.

There was also a large dried pomegranate fruit in the tomb of one of the servants of Queen Hatshepsut, and archaeological discoveries prove that it might have been customary to place next to the dead a pomegranate fruit as an offering and supplies accompanying the dead in the kingdom of the dead, as demonstrated by one of the papyri, which also dates to that Era, on the use of pomegranate for therapeutic purposes.

The evening reviewed some of the Greek myths mentioned in the book and related to pomegranate fruits, as well as the emergence of pomegranate fruits in various literary works, including the novel "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

The evening also covered a paper prepared by Dr. Samar Mounir, entitled "Eat your food so I can see you: Food culture as a key to understanding other cultures", which dealt with food culture in two books by the German-based Syrian writer Rafik Shami, who sheds light in the two books on the food culture in German society and in Arab societies.