In Search of a Tranquil Ramadan

My smoothie and fried atayef.

Dreaming of the ultimate spirituality and serenity this Ramadan, my plan was to quit my 9-5 job a couple of days before Ramadan started. I’ve always had this fantasy that taking a vacation for the whole Ramadan gives you more space for spirituality and religious rituals. Think of days full of Quran recitation, Zikr, Terawih prayers and even Qeyam! It would be definitely the Ramadan of all Ramadans!I couldn’t have been more naïve.To be honest, I have accomplished the part that always seem … [Read more...]

Muslimahs, Recipes and the Blogosphere

Fatayer - My fiancé’s family recipe.

One of my favorite hobbies is reading food blogs. I am passionate about desserts, and I spend much of my time baking and taking pictures of my creations. When I was growing up, baking was something I picked up from my step-mother, who loved all kinds of “women’s work” such as cooking, baking, sewing and knitting. While my mother identified as a feminist of a generation that broke away from housewifery and did not pick up any “womanly” crafts, my step-mother saw cooking and baking as “food for the … [Read more...]

Ramadan Thoughts over Tamarind Chutney

Here’s an example of an iftar at home: a glass of sharbat topped with takmariya and almonds, a potato cutlet with spiced ground beef (known as the “potato chop” at home), a chicken kebab, dates, almonds, imli chutney. Fruit salad is off to the side. A small jar of imli chutney takes up residence near my plate for easy access.

My mother and I are in the kitchen on a bright Sunday afternoon right before Ramadan. Spices overwhelm our shared counterspace as my mother toasts and grinds spices for her garam masala, the ubiquitous Indian spice blend.I’m squishing tamarind pulp that’s been soaking in warm water through my fingers—my mother assures me that the food processor won’t give the same results.After years of avoiding learning from my mother’s kitchen skills, I find myself this year asking her to show me ho … [Read more...]

From Moping to Musing: My Ramadan Roller Coaster

Ramadan cooking, filled with meat, and angst.

My conversion experience deeply informs my Muslim experience. We (converts) have varied experiences in our journeys and paths to Islam. Some have it easy—finding the transition relatively seamless—and others have a bumpy ride peppered with moments of angst and frustration. As an Egyptian-American convert, mine is the latter, driven by the disownment of my own family and the clumsy amalgamation into my husband’s Pakistani family and into an often dysfunctional spiritual family.Admittedly, I fi … [Read more...]