Food for Copts

Food for Copts
(working title)
ذاء للقبطي
(Ghidha lil qibti)

Written by

(شارل عقل)

Published by


An ironic cookbook and serious socio-political commentary

The blurb on early editions of Food for Copts presents it as a cookbook, a practical joke that sets the tone for Charles Akl’s uncompromising style. The culinary journeys in this book, rich as they are, are inroads to bigger questions about what it’s like to be part of a Christian minority in Egypt.

Each chapter is built around a food category or tradition, from the unique vegan cuisine inspired by Lent and Advent fasts and the place of pork in a Muslim-majority country, to the quintessential Egyptian ful bean, monastery produce, and seafood.

In some ways, this is a work of food anthropology; in others, it’s a dauntless personal memoir: a crisis of faith is navigated through a meaty pasta with béchamel sauce; a vividly described Christmas feast becomes a diatribe against social hypocrisy and sectarian violence; and school lunch sandwiches are an arena for class prejudice and Christian-Muslim rivalry (but don’t let that distract from a mouth-watering recipe for fried artichoke).

Foreign rights: contact the publisher


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

There aren’t many themes that are more universal than cooking and eating. This book answers questions and challenges presumptions about life as a Copt in Egypt through that most intimate and quotidian of prisms. At its heart, it grapples with belonging; what it means to rebel against one’s community while being aware of the challenges faced collectively by that community. It does this in prose interspersed with some genuinely appetising recipes and spiced with equal measures of humour and anger.


The book successfully escorts the reader into the dining/living room of a typical middle-class Coptic family in Egypt by Ahram Online, November 2017

Reviewed by Nariman Youssef