El menenas

I am not sure whether the term el menenas is French or hails from some other language. Sharon Tyler Herbst says the cookie recipe is of Egyptian origin, and I am inclined to take her word for it. Based on the little bit of internet research I have been able to do, which I will admit is minimal, there is no readily available trace of the origins of the cookies’ name. I have not had much time for baking cookies or poking around after lost etymologies in recent days.

I baked these orange flower-almond cookies in late February after returning from New Mexico. They are gone — the recipe only makes a few dozen petite pastries — but we remember them fondly. The almond was represented in paste form, and with two mouth surgeries in the space of two and a half weeks, these were the only sweets Kate could eat that were not in pudding or ice cream form. The cookies got a little hard over time, but they were free of pesky chopped nuts that can find their way into wounds left by teeth extractions and other minor surgeries, and so she ate most of them.

For all my bitter complaining over the taste of rosewater, I have to say orange blossom water is a whole other animal. Its scent is more delicate than that of rosewater, and I do not feel like I am eating a delicacy laced with a grandmother’s perfume. It is delicious with cinnamon and almond, and the combination hints at exotic places to my Western Hemisphere, rather pedestrian tongue. Which is entirely fitting with the mysterious name: el menenas.


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to El menenas

  1. D'Alta says:

    I have to chuckle at having only one year to go as a life-long learner… Having my MDiv from CRDS/BH/CST, I can say that the length of the school’s name is warning to those applying. Should you not heed its warning, you will indeed fall into a black hole from which there seems no escape…until graduation spits you back out again, bent, mutilated, spindled, and folded…

    • pattiblaine says:

      I should amend that, Dorothy, as I really have only three months to go now before graduation in May. And yes, there will be more! There must be more! 🙂

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