Returning home from her shopping, Grandmaman would join my aunts on the terrace, where they would munch on tiny roasted melon seeds, nibble on lukum (the chewy, pistachio-filled sweet known elsewhere as turkish delight), and gossip. I was always told to go play with my cousins, but instead, I'd sneak into the kitchen to visit with Ahmed. A large pot of fragrant ful medames (small brown fava beans), perpetually warmed on his stove. The dish, a staple in Egypt, is bought from street vendors, carried home in pots, and eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with lift mikhalel (red pickled turnips also called torshi) and hard-boiled eggs on the side. In my house, however, ful was meant only for the staff. Yet because I was passionate about it, Ahmed, risking Grandmaman's admonitions, would ply me with ful, mashing the beans with vinaigrette.