A few days before Ramadan, one of the kids teachers’ asked me if I was prepared for Ramadan. She had been fasting voluntary fasts, reading more Quran. I got ready to tell her about the kilos of onions I’d sliced and frozen, the samosas we’d prepared, basically all of the food prep that I’d done. See, dh is Pakistani, and their iftar tends to be rather elaborate. First samosas, maybe some pakora (veggie fritters), fruit salad. After magrib, there is the full meal. And in regard to food dh is something like this.
Keep in mind that in Egypt there is a rush on food. Going around the day before Ramadan, the stores were extremely crowded. Lots of things were sold out. No bottled water. No fresh milk. So, it is good to be prepared. It had never occured to me to prepare for the fasting itself.
I actually consider Ramadan to be spiritual preparation for the rest of the year. The time to recharge if I’ve slacked up in worship. Usually when it rolls around I am in dire need of a boost.
So does the crowded market places and all of the extra buying and selling mean a commercialized Ramadan? Not necessarily. To be sure, the forces of capitalism will try to turn any opportunity into money, but it’s kind of hard to turn a month of abstinence into say Christmas. Even in hajj, there is buying and selling, and it’s halal. Just so we don’t lose sight of the big picture.
Few days ago, I decided to get a jumpstart on shopping, and purchase meat before prices are jacked up for Ramadan. It seems like lots of Egyptian housewives had the same thought, cause there were lots of people at the butcher, buying lots of meat. And they had raised the prices already. Oh well.
After getting the meat, I stopped into Metro for some fresh ginger, and you can only find fresh ginger at a few grocery chains in Cairo. On the way to the check out, what did I see, but TWIZZLERS!
I LOVE twizzlers! I haven’t had any in about two years. So never mind the price of about 13 Le, I bought a bag, and plus two chocolate bars. So that’s about 20 LE’s just to satisfy my cravings. Just to put it in perspective, I can buy fruit or veggies for a whole week for 20 LE’s. Or a whole chicken. Or pay the gas bill for three of four months. Food is generally very affordable (except meat), as long as you stick to what is locally produced. I don’t usually splurge on imported sweets/snacks. I mean, who has 50LE’s ($10) to pay for a bag of Tostito nachos? Or 45LE’s for chocolate chip cookies. But alhamdulillah for the ability to have a lil taste once in a while.