Table Talk: Rahma Soliman

Table Talk: Rahma Soliman

Rahma is a multi-hyphenate, just one of her many skills being a talented painter and one of our collaborators in Artist Collection No.3. 

Working across mostly large-scale oil paintings, Rahma aims to illustrate the lively, yet intimate moments of her home country, Egypt.

Through sharing her colourful depictions of life in her motherland, Rahma is able to connect with her heritage by creating an ‘in-between’ space, seeking to bring comfort to other diasporas who often feel displaced, and when stuck in momentary lostness can't find belonging in her work.

We've so enjoyed getting to know Rahma and her many creative pursuits - we hope you do too!



Tell us about your painting of Baba's Place's Summer Tomatoes recipe.

The predominant theme in many of my paintings is duality. This notion or feeling where you are in one place physically, but feel as though you are elsewhere mentally and vice versa. Often this feeling is catalysed by a certain attachment to one’s culture or even detachment because in a sense you are displaced, and so you crave the smell of a certain street or the music of a corner store, or a huge game of soccer on the street with your neighbours, or even simply a warm, sunny day. It is all of these feelings that create most of my work, so when it came to “Summer Tomatoes” it was not difficult to paint, because this dish alone epitomises duality. The recipe to me is, as the title suggests, a summer day, it is filled with laughter and games and chaotic movement, until the stillness of the heat sets in and you find yourself suddenly unable to even speak, all you can do is lay on the grass, and when you finally get the energy to eat all you want is a cold, crunchy tomato- with a little bit more toum.



Take us through an average day on your plate. 

Breakfast is often some type of egg sandwich with varying ingredients depending on the mornings cravings. Other days I have fava beans. All days I have a sweet black tea with milk, followed by a coffee. Breakfast is my favourite meal. Lunch is honestly extremely sporadic I couldn’t even say what I eat. Dinner is usually koshari, a rice and lentil dish that we eat it with raw onions and a good salad, super simple and always hits the spot.



What is one of your happiest food memories?

Honestly, it was the time my brother and I ate at Baba's place. We hadn’t slept in like 48 hours and were borderline hallucinating, whilst simultaneously being fed the most elite and taste bud alerting foods.



If we were to peer into your pantry and fridge, what are 5 things we would always find?

At least two types of cheese, pomegranate juice, bread, peri peri sauce and dates



What are your favourite rituals around food and dining?

I love to eat on the floor. We lay a mat of some sort, serving the food while it’s still in its pot so everyone can take as much as they want. That way it’s literally food for everyone (hahaha).


What sort of food did you eat growing up?

I grew up eating lots of rice and meat, and still do. A lot of grains and recipes without names like rice and chicken, rice and vegetables rice and meat etc. and of course other Egyptian dishes like Mahshi (stuffed cabbage), and koshari (a lentil and rice dish)


Do you have a strange go-to midnight snack or weird food pairing that you love?

Cucumber with Nutella.


Summer Tomatoes by Jean-Paul El Tom and Rahma Soliman