Tunisia is the Northernmost country in Africa, and at almost (64,000 sq mi) in area, the smallest country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the West, Libya to the Southeast and the Mediterranean Sea to the North and East. As of 2013, its population is estimated at just under 10.8 million.


Unlike other North African cuisine, Tunisian food is quite spicy. A popular condiment and ingredient which is used extensively in Tunisian cooking, is Harissa, which is a mix of spices that is commonly sold together, a paste containing the same spices, or the most important ingredient in the sauce which takes its name from the spices used.  Other common spices include cumin or cumin seeds, garlic, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, and paprika or smoked paprika. There is an old wives tale that says a husband can judge his wife's affections by the amount of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food.

The Weather

Tunisia's climate is moderate in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The south of the country is desert. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south is semiarid, and merges into the Sahara. A series of salt lakes, known as Chotts or Shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Glabes into Algeria.

Metro Area

Tunis is the largest city in the country of Tunisia, Arabic is the official language. There are 29 airports in Tunisia, with Tunis Cartage International Airport and Djerba -Zarzis International Airport being the largest ones.

Still standing and not going anywhere

An amazing feat dating back to the 5th century and spanning many centuries to build, The Great Wall is 13,170 miles long, making it the longest structure in the world. Initially built as a defense against enemies, the Great Wall of China stands today as a major tourist attraction for visitors worldwide. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The main Great Wall line stretches from Shanhaiguan in the East, to Lop Lake in the West, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia.


The Great Wall of China is a series of military fortresses made of stone, brick, earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China in part to protect the Chinese Empire. The Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced, the majority of the existing wall are from the Ming Dynasty.  While some portions north of Beijing and near tourist centers have been preserved and even extensively renovated, in many locations the Wall is in disrepair. Those parts might serve as a village playground, or a source of stones to rebuild houses and roads.

Are you Grilling today?

This July 4th, celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave with a selection of culinary specialties from regions around the country. From Kansas City-style ribs to Maryland-inspired crab cake burgers, How about these ideas grilled burgers, ribs, seafood, chicken, and barbecue-worthy side dishes.

So here are some tips for making a classic burger.

1. Hamburger meat, it all starts with the beef. Use 80/20 hamburger, that’s 80% meat to 20% fat, the ideal ratio for burgers. Skip the trendy new “lean” ratios of 90/10 or 95/5, they make dry burgers. If you really want to go retro (and are not worried about the fat,) try the 70/30.
2. Get fresh ground if you can. It is a lot harder to find nowadays, but check the meat counter at your grocery store to see if they have a fresh daily grind behind the glass.
3. When working with hamburger meat, make sure everything is cold including your hands. You do not want any of the fat melting or your burger will lose its texture and dry out when cooked. So run your hands through some cold water before touching the meat. Have a Happy and safe 4th all.

What Guyana Means

Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning the land of many waters.  Attempts to forge a common identity have foundered, and it is more accurate to speak of African, Indian, and Amerindian Guyanese cultures. There were small European, Portuguese "colored," and Chinese communities before large-scale migration to Canada and the United States in the late 1960s. British Guiana was referred to as the land of six peoples.


Guyana is one of a few mainland territories of South America that is considered to be a part of the Caribbean region. Guyanese culture shares many commonalities with the cultures of islands in the West Indies, particularly in the coastal regions of the country where the majority of the population is concentrated.  In the last few decades with the opening of the interior and a highway into Brazil there have been a movement of people and the influence of Brazilian Culture, in the south of the country. Because Guyana was once a British colony, there are many cultural influences that live on, particularly in the use of language, where British terms are used, some dating back to the 17th century. The country is also still riddled with Dutch place names from when the country was various separate Dutch colonies.

Location and Geography 

Guyana is on the northeastern shoulder of South America, bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by Suriname, on the northwest by Venezuela, and on the south and southwest by Brazil. The capital city is Georgetown, there are three regions: the narrow coastal belt of rich alluvium, the densely forested, hilly sand and clay belt; and the Rupununi grasslands between the rain forests and the frontier with Brazil. Over 90 percent of the population lives on the coastal belt, which is below sea level. 


Guyanese cuisine is very similar to the rest of the Caribbean. Curry is widely popular in Guyana and includes most types of meat that can be curried including chicken, seafood, goat, lamb, and even duck. There is a dish called pepperpot that is a dish that is an almost everyday affair that is served with bread in most homes.

(photo credit: Michael McCrystal)