Food is an important ordering principle of our lives on Uronarti. We cook for ourselves. We get some food – onions, eggplant – from the farmers who are sometimes present. Occasionally we find food, such as the mint patch we once happened upon. But most of our food comes with us from Khartoum or is purchased in Wadi Halfa, the nearest “big” town. We usually make one run ourselves at the beginning of the season for dry staples such as lentils, rice, pasta, and milk powder. Fresh foods, including vegetables and eggs, are brought to us by arrangement two or three times a week. It is a complicated journey for our food, being bought in Halfa, loaded on trucks, driven down to the east bank, then ferried to us.

Our cooking fuel is likewise complicated. We have a little gas stove that we can use outside provided the wind isn’t too strong. But once we ran out of gas, and it took several days to get another canister from Wadi Halfa.

Ali cooking gurassa – a cross between a pancake and a bread – over an open flame when our fuel ran out.

At that point a substantial period of every day had to be devoted to finding wood to burn and cooking – very little time or energy was left for archaeology. This gives us quite some sympathy for the ancient inhabitants, who would have faced similar issues. Neither growing nor cooking food is simple in such a place.

Documenting the food we eat has become something of a project within a project, and an Uronarti cookbook is planned. Being an international team, our meals tend to reflect the various backgrounds of the cooks as conditioned by the ingredients and cooking methods available to us. Again this reminds us of the past, and what it must have been like to eat in a place where cultures collided.

Recipe for Shakshuka

Recipe for Eggplant Salad with Peanut Butter

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