There are a few really strong memories I have of growing up. I thought I was Australian in most respects as I didn’t really understand or experience what living in Egypt would have been like. I thought my parents were strict (certainly compared to many other kids I went to school with) and I wasn’t into sports or much physical activity, and I knew that we ate different food since people would often ask me what Egyptians eat. I am also pretty sure my siblings and I were the only kids to have cheese and mortadella sandwiches for lunch at school. I stopped having mortadella (a deli processed meat) when I left school and had it again for the first time in over 15 years recently. I bought some for my son to try instead of the usual ham. Now that my first born is at kinder I am exposed to the school activities that accompany school life. Papers and crafts from the days’ activities and a constant array of fundraising offers. I am already thinking of all the cakes and slices that would be good for stalls and parties. Having these things on my mind often leads me back to my childhood and what I experienced growing up when my mum had to make things for me to take along to stalls and parties. I forgot about one of the all-time classics where school fetes and stalls are concerned – at least they were when I was growing up – the simple and astoundingly popular with children – Toffees. I had forgotten until a child memory of it came back to me last weekend.
While I was making wax (refer to blog entitled Wax and Waxing) my oldest asked me what I was doing and why. The usual conversation with him. I was explaining that it was wax but made from sugar and naturally that lead to “Can I taste it”. I said you can taste it before I use it but then you can’t have any more. I thought that was sufficient for an answer but when he asked me why I went on to say that he would then end up eating hair and dead skin cells and that can’t be nice. He settled for a little of the wax, decided that it was good and asked me to make some more wax for him to eat since I was going to use the one in my hand. I told him he couldn’t eat wax because it was so sticky. Trust me I said, I tried it once. I told him there was sugar made into toffee which was hard and you can suck on it and that I would make it for him so he could try that too, then I sent him out of the bathroom to wax in peace.
He didn’t forget and repeatedly asked me to make toffees. I can’t help but laugh to think of my mum attempting to make me these for a school fete when I was in primary school. I remember it so well because it was clearly something completely new to her. All I knew was it was sugar and so she made us toffees just like she made wax. Sugar, water and lemon (Recipe for wax in the wax blog I mentioned earlier). Anyway, it was completely inedible. I tried to eat one but it went everywhere, was distinctly lemony and got stuck to the roof of your mouth, teeth, lips, fingers, clothes…
I know that my son will not have to have that experience but it does bring a smile to my face when I think about my experience of toffee. So while not a typical Egyptian recipe my mum did attempt to make some the Egyptian way. I can definitely attest to this being unsuccessful so don’t bother trying to make toffees the Egyptian way. You can see a video of how to make hard toffees at Dyna’s Egyptian Cooking Channel on YouTube under a separate playlist where my kids feature with their own recipes. Toffees is now one of them. (Or you can click on the picture below)
November 5, 2012