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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Famous writer Nazeera Nicola (Abla Nazeera)


 Well, I write about food and cooking. So I can't do it without writing about (Abla Nazeera), this is what Arabs call her, Chef Nazira Nicola the most famous Egyptian and Arabian cook, who wrote the first and the biggest Arabic cooking & recipes encyclopedia. She is the most famous Arabic writer in the Arab world.

 Nazeera Nicola (born 1902 in Egypt) is a famous cook and writer who gained fame through her Book "Cooking Essentials" which we call it in Arabic countries "Ketab Abla Nazeera", she studied at the Faculty of Home Economics and Housekeeping in Egypt. In 1926 the Ministry of Education decided to send the most talented students in all disciplines to complete the graduate studies abroad, and one of the disciplines was  her field. So 14 girls were selected from her Faculty and Nazeera Nicola was one of them, to study at the University of Gloucester in England for a period of three years in the culinary arts and needlework. "At that time it wasn't easy for families to accept the idea of letting their daughters study abroad but their Uniqueness in this feild didn't let a chance for their families to refuse" said Dr. Sadik, Nazeera's eldest son.

 When she was back to Egypt after finishing her studies, she worked as a teacher of (Women Culture and Housekeeping) in "Saneya Girls School" in Egypt, and had been urging her students to love the kitchen and decorating the table with the simplest things, as she believed that cooking is an art like the rest of the arts.She graduated in her Job and  became a General Inspector in the Ministry of Education.
 Once again The Ministry of Education had another announcement in the early 40s, about a competition between all teachers in this field for writing a cooking book to be approved by The Ministry and be used in teaching girls in schools. Of course "Abla Nazeera" decided to join that competition, with "Baheya Othman" who graduated from Bridge House Faculty in England and was a general inspector too, and they wrote this book "Cooking Essentials", which had the first place in the competition and had fame all over the Arabic countries, according to its great variety of recipes and her easy writing style, which was so easy for the expert woman and also the beginner in cooking.

 Nazeera Nicola didn't have any trade intention when she wrote the book, on the contrary she simply wanted to provide summary of her experiences and what she studied in England in this book so that could open the door for the girls who wanted to master the art of cooking. However the number of  the book editions became approximately twelve, during which it was modified in line with the modern  measurements, as the original copy of the book contained old measurements, then it had several parts up to 18 to become part of a comprehensive encyclopedia of all forms of cooking.

 From teaching and writing books "Abla Nazeera" moved to the radio while many housewives were waiting to listen to her daily delicious recipes, besides writing in Eve magazine, and continued presenting her delicious recipes even after her program cessation.

The funniest thing is what  Dr. Wafaa Amer her daughter in law says: "Imagine a wife who cooks for Abla Nazeera's son, how is he going to accept her food?! She adds, laughing: at the beginning of my marriage, I didn't have any idea of the kitchen and did not even think of entering it. But "Abla Nazeera" who was characterized by good sense of humor and very simplicity did not pay attention to that and insisted on teaching me all the culinary arts. In one month I became aware of all the kitchen arts and that's what I owe her."

 Nazeera Nicola passed away 1992 at the age of 90 years, and her book still there in every Arabic house till now, my mother has a copy of it as well.

29 comments:

  1. I must check her books out..seemed to me that she was a humourous writer.

    Thanks
    Angie

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  2. I don't know if the book was translated in English, but if not then I will be honered to be the first one to translate it :)

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  3. Such a great write up and introduction to Abla Nazeera. Thanks for sharing. You should totally try to do a translation.

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  4. Thanks, I will hopefully, and I wish I can finish it because like I said before it is a really big encyclopedia so I'm going to need some support from you all to encourage me :)

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  5. She sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing a bit about her :)

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  6. Great write up! I would love to find out if there is an English translation of her book. Fascinating.

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  7. Thank you all.
    Magic of spice, well I think I don't have a choice but translating her book :)
    or at least some of it :)

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  8. wow great post.. thx u for sharing :)

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  9. Very interesting to learn about Nazeera Nicola, thank you for a great write up!

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  10. She seemed to a great lady, amazing that her books is not available in all languages.
    I hope you can make her best recipes known to English speakers.

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  11. I hope so too
    I'll try to do it asap :)

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  12. How very cool! Thanks for continuing the legacy.

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  13. Very interesting post. It will be nice if you will translate and cook some of her recipes, so we can learn new things. I like very much arabic food.

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  14. Thanks Belinda :)
    Thanks Brindusa, I'm cooking now one of here recipes and will post it soon :)

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  15. what an interesting article, I'd not heard of her,But am interested in learning more. And yes, any daughter-in-law would have her work cut out for her!

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  16. Her elder daughter Naglaa specialized as her mother in the art of cooking (Called now: Home economics). She started as a teacher and was promoted till she held the position of the director of the department of enviromental sciences at the ministry of education, Alexandria.

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  17. Thank you so much for the addition :)

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  18. Thank you for a very interesting piece about food history.

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  19. Very Nice and Delicious Recipes you are Posting and I love Helal Foods and number of Majority post is Pure Food Halal Thanks..

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! Not only the majority, all my recipes are halal :) thank you for stopping by! I'm glad you like my recipes!

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  20. I enjoyed your article about Abla Nazira very much, I used to have this book for a long time but unfotunatly I lost it! And since then i'm trying to find a copy of the book with no luck what so ever! is it possible that you help me finding a copy to buy it or to photocopy it even a PDF file, and I am willing to pay the expences .Thank you very much hoping to here from you soon. I'm Tay Sultan from Cairo and here is my e-mail taysultan2000@gmail.com. Thank you



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    1. Unfortunately, I don't think it's available to buy anymore, the only choice that pops up in my head right now is Sour Al Azbakeya! I think it's the only place, where you could find an old copy! I think it may also be available in libraries to copy! I have the original book, and will try to send you a pdf copy asap inshallah! :)

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    2. Thank so much, I really appreciate your effeort and suggestions also i am delighted that i'm talking to Abla Nazira's daughter :D Thank you i will follow your advice and search for the book in Al Azbakeya and other libraries also it's amazing that you'll try to send me a pdf copy :) Thank you again

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    3. You're welcome! Thank you for stopping by! :)

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