Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ramadan Day 5: Cooking through the Afternoon Through to the Evening

Kitchen loaded with vegetables: tiny radishes, celery flops about with huge leaves, bags of garlic dusty with earth, flowering cilantro.

I spent the early afternoon listening to the boys making Lego robots (what is more satisfying than that plastic clatter that Lego is?) while I cooked filfa and sihlk, crepe batter blended, cheesha with raw butter, the peppers red and green I seeded and chopped. Then four cloves of purple garlic smashed under a heavy knife and minced.
Tomato was so heavy and ripe - men in movies always compare breasts to melons and grapefruits, but the full red tomato soft in the hand so you want to be carefulnot to break, this is a better analogie in my mind.

But I shredded it, pressing it into the grater.

One red onion that is marbled with violet. And the seeds and flowers, small splayed leaves of coriander I am shredding. And the olive oil from Tlemsan (a place that is clean, a tribe that is pale, light eyed. They were selected by the French under occupation to be the special group, the one they would call civilized to show who was not (everyone darker, everyone else Arab). The french moved them into clean neighborhoods and called clean and still their city is. Who were given education and called gifted, who were given power they still have today. Tlemsanis were the ones the French live side by side with then while the other, darker tribes were left in the ghettos, the Casbah.)

The oil heats and just almost smoking when the light from over the mountain I see from my kitchen window gets bright in my eyes and the oil starts to smoke but I can't reach for the garlic.

I'm held still by the gulls cutting through the sunlight, the acrid smell of olive oil so new, so green it's a medicine, it's a cure.

This place in time heals something in me and I reach for the garlic and it dashes that smell perfect oil and just new garlic and onion follows it and herbs and I am back again into this space of cooking the afternoon through to the evening.

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