07 September 2010

Bonanza Break-Fast Bar

Extra points if you can name the song where I got the title.

During Ramadan, people who have been fasting gather together to eat, waiting for that exact moment when the sunsets. In Muslim-majority countries, you can just wait until you hear the call to prayer (adhan) at your local mosque. In America, when I was fasting, I used a great program called Guidance where you can set your zip code and it will make a call to prayer sound at the correct time - it will even pause your iTunes for you so you can hear the adhan. Other people use adhan clocks or just look it up. I could have just used my cell phone time - which I did much of the time if I was out - but there's something so much more striking about waiting and waiting and waiting and then, YES! Time to eat. Humbling, really.

Breaking the Ramadan fast (which, if you remember, is no food, drink - including water - drugs, or sexual activity during daylight hours) is a feast never to be forgotten. Called iftar in most countries, people seem to eat a really big meal and just keep on eating all through the night. When I was eating with a mix Turkish-Palestinian family one night, they described their nights, both abroad and in America as "eat, pray, rest, talk, eat, pray, eat, pray, talk, eat, rest, pray" etc.

In Morocco, they seem to be unique in that they have a "smaller" meal. I mean, there's always way to much food, but it's a meal of mostly "munchables." Harira, or the traditional tomato-based soup, is pretty much a requirement, and there are other staples, like fry-bread, honey-soaked sweets called shebbekiya, dates, and hard-boiled eggs with cumin and salt. When I was able, I tried to share this tradition with friends and family in America. It gave us an excuse to hang out, of course, and it also enabled me to break my fast with people instead of alone - kind of the whole point of Ramadan. And now, I want to share some of my iftars with you all:

Ramadan 2009 in Casablanca
Here you can see my dad enjoying the biggest iftar I've ever had. Including: salad, yogurt, sausages, mussels, baguettes, dates, hard-boiled eggs, Moroccan spam, cream cheese, battered fish, fry-bread, figs, olives, and rice. Plus harira.

September 5, 2010
My iftar with a friend from high school and his girlfriends. I went with a slightly Mediterranean theme including: olives, walnuts, stuffed grape leaves, fresh figs, manchego cheese, chick pea salad, hard-boiled eggs, tarts, avocado smoothies, tea. And of course, harira.

Late August 2010
My friend and her Moroccan husband came over to my dad's house. He made the harira and it was fantastic. Other things included: carefully-saved shebbekiya, hard-boiled eggs, berry smoothie, oatmeal cookies, dates, Indian fry-bread, and lots of water.

Mid-August 2010
One of my professor friends invited me over to meet his new baby and break the fast with him and his wife. Their harira had eggs and celery, yum. You can also see: Avocado smoothie, GREAT shebbekiya, humus, coffee, tea, harsha (corn bread), fry-bread, and slilou/zameta (ground nuts and spices with a chocolatey flavor).

1 comment:

js said...

you should have taken a picture with us!!!!