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I decided to put 2 days together to compare 2 very different iftaar meals at home and away.

Thursday 26 July 2012:

I was round my sister place babysitting and she persuaded me to stay for iftaar at her place. Now I was getting into combat mode; I rolled up my sleeves, cleared the table and sink and turned to her with an eager smile and asked what needed to be done to prep for the ‘feast’.

The thing was, she just looked at me. She did it really intently, enough to make my smile sag and look back at her with raised eyebrows.

‘Macena, I know you’re used to big meals at your place, but in my house we keep things simple.’ She said this 2 hrs to sunset.

True to her words, only half an hour before sunset she put a few things in the oven, cut some fruit, and boiled some milk for a sweet dish to produce a table spread like this:

Day 7: The small feast

Day 7: The small feast

It may seem like next to nothing considering that one has fasted for 18 hrs but believe me, this was plenty! The mistake we all make is stuffing our faces till we can’t move and have to unbutton our trousers, but in reality the reason why feel so lazy and tired after a few mouthfuls is because we eat more than our bodies can take. After not eating for 18 hrs you have to introduce food slowly to your stomach, otherwise it will suffer.

Friday 27 July 2012:

The iftaar from Day 7 only had 4 simple items. But on Day 8 I was back at home, back with a larger family and back with hungry men. It’s sounds like I’m describing a zoo doesn’t it (it sure feels like it at times!).

Day 8 Feast: compare this to the Day 7!

Day 8 Feast: compare this to the Day 7!

Obviously, living in a larger family will naturally mean more food, but it’s not just about quantity, it’s also about the time taken to prepare the lavish dishes. But for Day 8 there were no lavish dishes. I know, sounds like a lie, but I swear by Allah that the cooking took maximum 45mins and everything else was prep for the table, fruit and plating up.

Look at all that fruit!

Look at all that fruit!

As usual, the fruit is prepared without a day gone by. We try to cram in our 5 a day in one sitting :-p

My Iftaar plate

My Iftaar plate

Tis colourful, as usual. And you can’t miss the large splat of kisuri (rice cooked with  fenugreek seeds). That is a typical Ramadan dish at most Bangali households and it’s filling, so mum kept piling it on my plate.

Because there’s a lot of us, half sit in the living room and the other half (the older folk) sit at the table. This gave us the opportunity to watch the opening ceremony for The London 2012 Olympics in Stratford, Olympics Stadium. It was quite cool, the shows the put on with top British stars like Kenneth Branagh, Rowan Atkinson, Daniel Craig and even Queen Elizabeth II herself.

So, the games begin and this entails some bad news for us London citizens: congestion, inflation, traffic, weird traffic signs for lane closures which means more tickets being issued (as us Brits are struggling to adjust to extreme lane changes!) and more traffic.

Main point:

  1. Simple is always best (but can vary in terms of quantity for larger families)
  2. Be grateful we have a table upon which to set decent meals everyday.
  3. And like the government have been telling us for the last 6 months, avoid leaving your homes! Only venture out if absolutely necessary. Clothes and entertainment do not apply!
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