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Rooftop Recipes for Relating

Ecologies of Humans, Animals and Life

Noha Fikry


The article explores the particularly lively rooftops of Cairo through which interspecies intimacies unfold. On these rooftops, various animals (such as chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, goats and rabbits) are raised to be later eaten and consumed for sustenance. I expose the various patterned modalities, terms and codes bringing these different species together in their sustained long-term relationships. I follow these interspecies relations as they narrate wonders of life and death, collaborations, various instantiations of home, social gift exchanges, marital rituals and grieving patterns. Rooftop recipes for relating slowly cook these human-non-human relations as uniquely embedded in a socioecological intricate awareness of surrounding environments of neighbours and families, but also of trees, waste, changing seasons, aging species and growing parents.