Food is a central part of social and family life in Libya.Â The food is Italian-influenced, bringing together European and African culinary influences in delicious and innovative ways. One of my favorite recipes is for a Libyan Cod Stew. Libyan cuisine and European Mediterranean cuisine have a major ingredient in common: olive oil. Olive oil has nutritional and medical properties according to Libyan beliefs for hundreds of years and was even a traditional energy source used to fuel lamps.
Dates are another Libyan specialty. They can be eaten fresh, dried, or made into a syrup that is used as a sweetener or condiment. Dates can be part of any meal, as breakfast, accompaniment to a grain-based dish, or as a dessert.
Another staple of Libyan diets is dairy in almost any form. Yogurt, milk, cheeses, and ghee, a clarified butter-like product, are a major source of calories and nutrition for Libyans.
Grains, served in many forms, are an essential too. A thick dough with a simple meat-based sauce is a traditional meal, called Utshu, A'eish or Bazin, is a traditional Libya meal. One amazing way Libyans have learned to work with their very hot environment is by actually baking their breads in the hot sand of the desert. This same method is even used to cook potatoes and eggs!
A Libyan dish we are more familiar with is couscous, called kesksoo, is served frequently with lamb and a tomato sauce. The way fresh couscous is prepared in Libya, though, supposedly outshines the supermarket variety we know.
To read more about the Libyan cuisine, go here.