August 4, 2011

The Ramadan I ♥

We all have our own Ramadan. The emotions we feel, the places we visit, the food we love etc. For example, there's something about black tea with mint during Ramadan that just adds to the mood for me. There's no other time of the year that I really crave it. Just the same with Arabic desserts. The only three that I like, and I've tried a lot, are Knafeh, Um Ali and Roz bil Haleeb (rice pudding). 

Again, I only crave these during this month. They take me back to my younger teens living in Bahrain. Sitting all cozied up in tents surrounded by my friends and family, feeling completely carefree, everyone happy and thankful for the food and company. 

Once I went to university Ramadan was no longer the same. Boston wasn't too bad considering it was practically an Arab city away from the Middle East. I have to admit though, that same Ramadani feeling I was used to didn't exist. We'd try our hardest by keeping dates everywhere and eating ME cuisine whenever we had time. But breaking your fast to a Boloco burrito just doesn't cut it. I know, food is food, and you appreciate it all at the end of the day, but nothing says Ramadan to me like my family's home cooked ME food and desserts. 

My pickiness with ME meals would be a result of enjoying over 15 years of the best home cooked food; always fresh and healthy. Everything has to be nailed from the taste, to the texture, to the temperature it's served at, to the right amount of garnish (especially for desserts).

I could hardly take the photo above in focus last night because of how excited I was to eat it. Nothing beats the fresh, hot knafeh we make at home. Oozing melted cheese, the addictive crunch of the kataifi (a special kind of shredded phyllo) slightly burnt to perfection, and the sweet drizzle of the syrup. It's such a scrumptious combination of sweet and savory that always keeps you wanting more, when it's done right. 

I'm not hungry at all. 

In my experience though, Ramadan is also not the same unless I fast. It's the somewhat lazy mood and occasional hunger pang that not only brings me back to reality, but helps me appreciate every bite, sip, smile and hug I receive. 

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