He’s made us laugh, he’s made us cry and he’s made us hungry. Before heading out on a year long adventure with his new wife, our intrepid food critic David Blanks reminiscences…
It was a Wednesday and I was minding my own business. The phone rang. It was Adam Mowafi. I didn’t know him from Adam.
Well that’s not entirely true. A few months back my hippie princess and I were drinking tea and bickering at the Zaafarana Rest House when the Mowafia pulled in. They were bickering too. They were not drinking tea.
It was there in that fly-blown highway hell hole that I met Adam for the first time, but it was several months later when he called—and by then that first encounter with the clan had faded from memory. I could no longer be certain precisely which one he was. It’s not easy you know, there are just so fucking many of them.
Adam called because he was wondering if I would be interested in contributing a weekly food column to Cairo Scene. How much do I get paid?, I said. Haha, he replied. But I agreed to it anyway because he was a genuinely nice guy and because I had never written a blog before and rather liked the sound of that. What do you do for a living? Oh, I’m a blogger. I have a blog. Cool.
After that nothing was ever quite the same.
New food, new friends, a new female, fame, and fortune all washed over me like lukewarm tap water from a seventh-floor faucet with pressure problems. It took a long time and a lot of blogging, but eventually the tub filled up, and I was able to splash about a bit in the city.
The hip, satirical vibe of CS allowed me to explore my weirdness in new and personal ways and to write about whatever came to mind: vodka, Valentine’s Day, Vinny’s, viagra sandwiches; Amici, Alchemy, artichokes, anaphylactic shock; cabbages, condoms, the Phât Phúk Noodle Bar, even the House of Poon.
I examined my love-hate relationship with Lucille’s: “Baby you look good, but when I’m inside you I just end up feeling disgusted with myself and all your lies only make it worse”. My hate-hate relationship with Pub 55: “Egyptians trying to be American and Americans trying to be Egyptian, a truly creepy environment.” My disgust with Maison de Merde: “Every once in a while you get lucky and something shows up that is hot, juicy and delicious, but nine times out of ten these random nighttime hook ups end in tears and disappointment.”
I talked about food and music, food and art, food and words, food and sex. Got a lot of Facebook likes on that one—and a few phone numbers. Blogging was good.
Oddly it was also a Wednesday, this past Wednesday to be precise, when once again life made a quantum lurch sideways. I am prepared for pesto ravioli to be revolting; I was not prepared for the entire country to revolt.
Nor was the love of my life. In the midst of doing last minute alterations on her dress, trying to get the flowers right, lining up the entertainment, and welcoming friends and family as they began to arrive from out-of-town—I mean, a week before the wedding a bride becomes uncommonly anxious even at the best of times: June 30 was like tossing an open flame into a tank of bridezilla gasoline. Destruction and mayhem ensued.
Yet—and here’s something every Egyptian needs to pay particular attention to –sometimes the worst possible shit that you can imagine doesn’t actually happen; and sometimes—miracle of miracles—things turn out better than you expected.
See baby, God loves you, and this is not after all the worst of all possible worlds. In fact it is entirely possible that our wedding tomorrow turns out okay. In the public interest, however, and to avoid further casualties, I am giving you a 24-hour deadline. By this time tomorrow I need you to have reconciled all your inner demons or I will have no choice but to step in and marry you anyway and make you the happiest woman on earth whether you like it or not.
You all can see how it turns out, because in this case too the wedding will be televised. After her ill-informed comments yesterday I uninvited Amanpour, but it’s being covered by a fantastic local crew and will be aired in September as part of her royal self’s new reality show, which brings me to my reason for reminiscing.
This coming Wednesday (note to self: stuff happens on Wednesdays) my fabulous Persian/Arab princess and I are out of here, at least for a while. On Saturday we are cutting the cake and the following week we are cutting out on a world’s record honeymoon, first to New York, then to the Caribbean, then Dubai, then London. We’ll be back early next year. In the meantime, though, as far as Cairo food blogging goes, I am going to have to say sayonara to the Scene.
In the meantime, there is some other stuff I want to blog about so you’ll still be hearing from me: a new marriage, our travels, Sarah’s TV program, and whatever other weird shit comes our way. Now and again I’ll probably have some thoughts about food as well; if not, there is always music, art, words, and sex.
We’ll be around in spirit if not on Cairo Zoom, and we’ll be checking your pics, reading your words, watching your vids, and listening to your songs—because of course we’ll be homesick for this crazy place, the world’s biggest village, and we will miss you all like crazy. It’s been fun but I gotta run.