Boston : I will not write about the violence or the despair or the unknown future of the Iraqis and my country Iraq.
I have been thinking a lot what I shall write about Iraq so the people can know what wonderful things in Iraq away from the davastation and take you with me in a journey of taste which I'm missing while I'm away from my home in Baghdad. Have you heard of Al Biryani? what is it and why the Iraqis are so famous of talking about it?
Al Biryani is one of many famous dishes from the traditional Iraqi kitchen and many Iraqi women has to learn how to cook it. Yes, it is a name of a dish which the Iraqis would like to serve their guests among other dishes and it is always present in the weddings, birthdays beside the birthday cake and other cookies, in the funerals etc., so it is present in the joy and sorrow occasions.
I still remember the good old times, my habibti mother considered a tradition in the family to cook every Friday, a different difficult dish which needs a lot of work to prepare it and what is best than choosing the holy Friday holiday when the men go to the Friday prayers as muslims do on that day all over muslim countries and the whole family will be at home to gather around the table or on the floor to eat their favourite dishes they may miss eating them while at work and also it is a good opporunity to chat and ask about each other. My mother made clear that no one should eat outside the house during that day because it is a family gathering and she will be using her magic hands to cook the best dishes and we should be present to praise her cooking from the first bite or she will be upset, you know how the mothers are!!!
Al Biryani is made of cooked rice with flavour zaafran, cardamom, (Biryani spices which is special for it) and clover and mixed with very fine noodles which they call it here I think the angel noodles along with carrots, potatos, peas, raisins, nuts and lamb meat or chicken of course. And then bon appetite.
It may sound silly to you that instead of talking about the violence and how people try to survive there and how both the American Administration and the Iraqi governemnt messed up there. I know that, but you know I just felt really tired of reading and listening to the news and answering the shower of the questions wherever I go in the United States and in Boston where I'm studying now. But then I realized the people here know nothing about Iraq except from what they hear and read from the news. Most of the American people knew nothing about Iraq's culture or its kitchen or the habits and traditions.
One of my American friends whom I live with asked if there are any Iraqi dishes I can make for her because she thought the people of the Middle East make the same food with no difference. So I explained to her the differences and the first thing came to my mind was Al Biryani. I really do not know where the word come from but my guess that it is an Indian word since we have some similarities in some dishes. So we went shopping and we cooked Al Biryani and she loved it and I began to cook the other iraqi recepies whenever i have time And now wherever I go I cook Al Biryani to my friends and teach them how to do it because it became my sanctuary time to enjoy remembering my mother's secret delicious recepies and fly away from violence images and make me feel so happy while doing that and people grasp a different angle or image from a devastated country as they watch on tv. channels.
Things like these will not be mentioned , and in fact , one of my American friends who is a reporter for well known American newspaper asked me to write the recepie of Al Biryani and I could not believe that because I never thought of writing about Al Biryani but I found it a great idea and I promised her that I will do that. Is not that nice?
Now do you know what Al Biryani is?