Alice Fordham has covered the Arab world for more than five years. Her work has taken her from the bookshops of Baghdad to the sand dunes of Algeria - and back again. Now settling into her new posting for NPR as a correspondent in Beirut, she reflects on the little things (cakes, games and songs) that have kept her sane over the years.
NPR International Correspondent, Alice Fordham.
My name... Alice Fordham
NPR employee since... January 2014
My job at NPR is... international correspondent, Beirut
The Newscast headline reporting the last year in my life would be... writer in the Sahara makes jump to Levant and radio.
One of the first things I plan to do upon arriving in Beirut is... eat tabbouleh and carrot sticks as a bar snack.
In my suitcase, you'll find... modest clothing for work, cutoff denims and neon jewelry for later.
I can't live without... Scrabble.
Ingredients: 6oz flour, butter and sugar, four eggs, the zest of a lemon and a teaspoon of baking powder, if you have it.
Directions: Then you bake it. You mix the juice of a lemon with a big spoonful of sugar and drizzle it onto the cake once it's cooked. But you can eyeball it.
If I could share a coffee with anyone, it would be... Leonard Cohen.
An important tip I've learned about baking is... fruity cakes are forgiving. Carrot or apple or banana cakes rarely go wrong.
If I could only bake one thing for the rest of my days, it would be... lemon cake. You can get lemon cake ingredients anywhere, and you don't need scales. And you can make a cake pan by unscrewing the handle of a saucepan.
On Sunday morning, you'll find me... trying to remember if Sunday is a workday in the country I'm in.
Listening is most important when... hiding from a rampaging, ravenous t-rex, trying to tell if it's coming your way.
I'm not as... posh ...as I sound.
The one word I always stumble over on air is... the Arabic letter kh - hard not to overdo, crunchily.
One thing people should understand about the Middle East is... that it's different all over. Not full of angry men and downtrodden women. It is full of individuals who might as easily be into alpine plants or nanotechnology or Beckett, as politics, war or religion.
Find Fordham's latest reports here.