The blog

Domestic Bedouin documents the foods I’m cooking and eating. I crave a variety of foods that aren’t always easy to find, no matter where I am. This situation gets exacerbated living overseas, where supply lines aren’t always as easily accessible as brown rice at the local Whole Foods. My current situation often finds me scheming to find substitutes for ingredients like pork or glutinous rice flour, or attempting to make the ethnic foods I adore from scratch (Enchiladas, I’m looking at you!)

This blog is an attempt to share what I’m learning about procuring and preparing healthy, good-tasting food, with an eye towards variety, for others who may find it difficult to source ingredients, whether at home or abroad.

This blog aims to encourage others living far from home (or wherever the food they want to eat is “usually” made) to try and recreate the foods they love. When you re-create a recipe, you also create new stories – one of the best parts of cooking and eating. I’ll try to share some of that with you.

Most practically, this blog also serves as a general resource for cooks and eaters living in the Middle East, where the food culture is definitely worth writing home about.


Food is one of the things that make a place home for me, whether I am somewhere long-term for work or on weekend getaway. Whether grocery shopping and tending a braise all day at home or grabbing a sandwich on the way back from the gym, eating helps me define my days and provides sustenance in various ways.

I am an American living in a very, very disputed area of the Middle East. April 2011 marks the start of my third year living here and I finally feel like I can say something about something. And that something is food.

My family background is mixed between Vietnamese and Indian, with French, Italian and a lot of American influences along the way. I’ve been lucky enough to have friends and family who love to cook and eat. They have always rewarded me for my hunger. But it also means I often want to eat things that simply aren’t around – like south Indian food in Egypt in 2000. So I learned to cook and feed myself and my friends (here’s looking at you, Jack!)

I also like being self-sufficient. If that one restaurant closes or that one friend who makes the best chicken biryani gets a terrific job offer and moves to another country, what is a hungry girl to do? Cook for herself, obviously. And invest in Tupperware to bring leftovers for lunch.

My boyfriend (aka Cameraman) told me that I being am a leech if I don’t contribute to the food blogging community that has helped me so much with my cooking while I’ve been out here. He is super supportive and repeatedly tells me after each meal that the world needs another food blog. So, there you go.

So, will this blog save the world and/or help folks create peace in the Middle East? No. But that’s why I have my day job.


I welcome any comments that provide constructive commentary that can help others with finding and preparing tasty food. I prefer to not take a political stance – but I know many people do. For politically oriented comments, I refer you to other sites – there are many. I assure you that they will provide a more interesting conversation for you than I can! However, if you have strong views on whether za’atar is really thyme or oregano – this is the place for you. (And yes, facebook really is that popular, even for inanimate objects.)

Where I get my recipes

I have a first line of websites I follow and consult for cooking inspiration and instruction. I also brought a lot of cookbooks with me, which I refer to and get ideas from. I also try to learn about cooking from people who cook out here, as long as my language and social skills don’t get in the way.

I will identify and link back to recipes as outlined by David Lebovitz on the Food Blog Alliance website to try to properly attribute the folks who help make my cooking possible. When I’m putting something together myself, I’ll let you know which resources I used, so you can look into things deeper.


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