First day, I’m feeling good, I shopped, I prepared. I had a menu for the entire month.
I burn the food.
Yep, and not once but twice. So first day of Ramadan we order out from Yemen Al-Sa’eed. Mandi, a yemen dish which is delicious. You can order a platter or 1/4 up to one whole lamb. We got 1/4, which a was plenty for us.
I went really overboard with buying food/preparing special meals. Which makes me feel guilty cause so many people don’t have enough. There are places for people to get food in Ramadan. The most famous is Maida Al-Rahman (Table of the Merciful). They set up lighted tents throughout Cairo with tables and chairs. Anyone can come and eat.
Some masaajid also serve food. I visited the masjid that the kids Quran teacher cooks for, and mashallah, they really cook. Fish, chicken, rice, salad. Good food most of the people probably can’t afford. Which is good. If I had to depend on charity for food, I’d want something nice too.
We did a few ‘Egyptian’ nights. One night we had mashi, stuffed cabbage, eggplant, and grapeleaves. I’d tasted it in arab restaurants in the states, but never liked it till I came to Egypt. Egyptians are in a class by themselves as far as mashi goes. We also had kushari, never really liked it much, but the kids love it. Got recipe from ummurahma’s site, and turned out great. I also made Hawawashi for the first time. Seasoned ground beef, fried with onions and green peppers, stuffed into ish baladi (Egyptian pita) and either fried on top of the stove or cooked in the oven, covered with oil. Most days I also made Qattayef. Small pancakes stuffed with nuts, raisins, and and coconuts, then fried and soaked in sugar syrup. To me the sugar syrup is overkill, so I sprinkle powder sugar on mine. Here is one batch I made.
We decide not to get a fanoos. The kids had small ones last year, but broke them. I asked around about the origin of the tradtion. According to one sister, it begin in the Fatimiyya period. They fixed lanterns in the streets to light the way to the masjid, and they became associated with Ramadan. Most buildings will display a fanoos, and there are small ones sold for kids.
Eid was ok. We prayed at Masjid Bilal. The kids really look forward to the sweets that are given out, but they didn’t really get anything this time. I guess they’ll just have to learn to go for the prayer, and not the sweets! After the prayer, we went the their arabic teacher’s house, where the kids filled up on sweets, extremely sugary basbousa, and the homemade cookies people make for eid.
Obviously most of this stuff is not about the essence of Ramadan: sacrificing our food and sleep for the sake of Allah, charity, increasing our worship, but that kind of stuff is hard to put into pics. Inshallah we all benefitted and will continue to benefit till next year.