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National Baklava Day!

Today we celebrate a Turkish favorite dessert, it is National Baklava Day.  This day is observed annually on November 17th.

Baklava is a flaky pastry sweet dessert that is consists of layered filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and drizzled with syrup or honey.  I never tried baklava and it is usually made for the holiday dessert.

Baklava is a dessert which was believed to have originated in ancient history during the 8th century B.C.  Many countries call them the ancient strudel.  Its characteristics had transformed through the ages in different countries and cultures including Greek, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and American.

Recipes had changed with each generation, being passed down through families and traditionally served during holidays.  If you love honey, fruits and nuts cooked together in a flaky dessert, you will love Baklava.

Baklava now comes in a number of tasty variations and each variety has its devoted followers; each of them being delectable in its own right. However, next time you take hold of that golden succulent treat you should remember the rich Ottoman heritage this delicacy is part of.

So, today, celebrate this day by learning how to make Baklava if you love sweets and try to make some.  Share on social media some photos of your creation using #BaklavaDay.

1869 Suez Canal opens

The Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red seas, is inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony attended by French Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III.

In 1854, Ferdinand de Lesseps, the former French consul to Cairo, secured an agreement with the Ottoman governor of Egypt to build a canal 100 miles across the Isthmus of Suez. An international team of engineers drew up a construction plan, and in 1856 the Suez Canal Company was formed and granted the right to operate the canal for 99 years after completion of the work.

Construction began in April 1859, and at first, digging was done by hand with picks and shovels wielded by forced laborers. Later, European workers with dredgers and steam shovels arrived. Labor disputes and a cholera epidemic slowed construction, and the Suez Canal was not completed until 1869–four years behind schedule. On November 17, 1869, the Suez Canal was opened to navigation. Ferdinand de Lesseps would later attempt, unsuccessfully, to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama.

When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom, and 200 to 300 feet wide at the surface. Consequently, fewer than 500 ships navigated it in its first full year of operation. Major improvements began in 1876, however, and the canal soon grew into one of the world’s most heavily traveled shipping lanes. In 1875, Great Britain became the largest shareholder in the Suez Canal Company when it bought up the stock of the new Ottoman governor of Egypt. Seven years later, in 1882, Britain invaded Egypt, beginning a long occupation of the country. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 made Egypt virtually independent, but Britain reserved rights for the protection of the canal.

(excerpted from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/suez-canal-opens)

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