I’m a mixer of potions, a swell cook, a writer, and a student of food, based between Washington, DC and the Middle East/North Africa region. The recipes, photos, and stories I post here document my journeys – physical, historical, gustatory – through Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt (with a few other stops along the way).
I believe food and food cultures are a living, breathing thing, so you’ll find no paeans to authenticity here: if you’re looking for easy-to-follow adaptations of Middle Eastern & North African recipes (how do you cook a tagine without a tagine?) or fresh twists on traditional so-called Mediterranean dishes (can I make hummus without tahini? gnocchi without potatoes?), look no further.
I cook Italian recipes just about as often as I do Moroccan or Lebanese, which means I get to explore what the two might have in common and why. Because my orientation starts from the southern shores of the Mediterranean, I tend to look for what we might call “Levantine” influences on the northern shores rather than the other way around.
About the name: This blog started as a love song to the two years I spent living (and eating delicious things) in Morocco’s Souss Valley. “Imik simik” is a saying in Tashelheet (spoken in the south of Morocco) that means “little by little.” That sentiment seems to me an apt way to approach learning about cultures and cuisines that are not one’s own. (See also: Hindi Zahra’s fantastic song by the same name.) Having this phrase as the name of my blog reminds me of this – as well as of the fact that the region I often gloss as the “Arab world” in fact hosts a vast array of cultural and linguistic diversity that has variously enriched, refused, and mingled with the more-discussed Arab and Islamic influences. Food is an excellent way to begin uncovering these complexities.
The subtitle is a pun involving my family name.
My photos are hosted on Smugmug.
Email me at ann (dot) gaul (at) gmail (dot) com.