Lily’s Blog, Dragon Absconded!
Baking Until I Drop

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Thursday 4th, September 2008

Ramadan 4: Iftar 3 and other stories

The nice lady next door sent over some saheena. I took pictures of it but haven’t got it off the camera yet. I figure today is time for a history lesson.

But back to this Iftar first.
So, mom boiled corn, we had saheena (bhagi – a type of spinach – chopped up in a batter, fried, sliced, spread with tamarind chutney), mom dates and our regular old weak tea and water.

For dinner…leftovers or unhealthy stuff.

I wish I knew how other people did their Iftars.
When I went away to school, the first communal iftar was…different…for me. There we all were, standing around in a room, somebody shared out dates1 and then they’d call the maghrib2 adhaan3 and we’d break our fast (some would wait for the adhaan to finish, others and I would break it as soon as the adhaan was called).

Then we’d go pray maghrib and come back and feast on the lovely almost potluck food there.

For me, Iftar always meant what you actually broke fast with. Dinner was something separate.

For our masjid, there used to be a list. And if someone wanted to sponsor Iftar (otherwise known as Aftari in Urdu), they’d put their name down for a day. If they wanted to do Iftar and Dinner they’d claim a day too. The list would help us know what days were free, what days we had to make our own dinner and what days we would have to make things for Iftar.

Days that weren’t claimed, people coming to the masjid to break fast would bring something. Sometimes it could be A LOT! Sometimes you could get 4 different saheena…or 4 different black eye beans cooked down.

Usually by the second week, these could be avoided…people would get time to announce what they might be making.

When my grandfather was alive, and Imam of the masjid we used to all go down waaay early. Somebody would mix juice. And we’d set out a number of glass plates (he’d tell us how much I think), and with him leading the pack with GINGER, we’d go through sharing up everything on those plates. Bananas would be sliced so that everybody got some. All the saheenas were divided up equally. Everybody got everything. And glasses and plates were always waiting for the latecomers.

Claimed Iftars and Iftar and Dinner were done slightly differently.

But can you imagine how much wares to wash just to break your fast? And you still have to go home to eat dinner…well…if you have room I guess.

Some time around when my dad became Imam, mom took over in that, I think I remember a trip to a homegoods store (Bel Air?) and buying about 3 or 4 of these big metal enamelled serving platters (2 pink, 2 blue, *sigh*). There were four tables, two for the brothers and two for the sisters. Most everything would go on those plates. Things like watermelon or very liquidy stuff might go on their separate glass plates but basically, there were no individual plates anymore. People could take what they wanted and leave what they wanted and tada! less wares to wash (except for glasses…but at least we weren’t pre-filling them…they were on the table and you filled it as you sat down).

As those platters got older, either they were replaced or people just started using the glass plates to put things on…but still one dish of one thing per table.

For Iftars alone, it was typically a big spread. If people weren’t providing dinner, they would go all out with sweets (cake, dates) and fries (pholourie, saheena, accra, chutneys) and fruit (watermelon, bananas, pawpaw) and beans (channa, black eye). As my grandfather’s death became a distant memory, so did the ginger…

For Iftar and Dinner, people would usually just provide one fried thing, one bean and maybe one fruit so that everybody would get something but not too much because the main event is yet to come.

Now, after the Iftar (regardless of dinner, no dinner) we’d go pray Maghrib.

There were washing rotations…
If there was dinner, we’d all go out and have dinner and then more wash up and usually by then it would be time for Isha4 and Tarawih5. If no dinner, we’d go back home and have dinner and then return to the masjid to pray.

The days of Iftar and Dinner were some of my greatest memories. The younger you were the less work you had to do. We would play games. Catch, Pole-to-pole…I’m not sure if we played box games there (hopscotch, moral) as I don’t know if there was anywhere to do it. I used to look forward to Ramadan and not just for the fasting ;-)

As time’s gone on it’s not the same.
Maybe because I’m older…less energy…oh yes and less people coming to the masjid…or maybe all the people who’re not fasting aren’t coming anymore.
There might still be a sort of list…but there aren’t really the communal iftars and dinners anymore.

Dad and some others go down to the masjid for before maghrib. Mom makes sure there’s juice, water and dates in the kitchen. If she makes anything special or if anybody else makes anything special they send it down. Mom and I don’t usually go down. If we have hopes of making it for Tarawih (and I haven’t made it to the masjid for Tarawih yet), we conserve our energy.

Everytime Ramadan comes around, mom yearns (and so do we) to do an Iftar and dinner, catered even. But…reality kicks in and the work…and how she’ll feel even with me there…and we figure it’s better we make sure there is something at the masjid all the time to break fast. But we do miss it…bad.

  1. traditional…the practice of the prophet (saw) was to break fast with dates and water
  2. sunset prayer
  3. call to prayer, called five times a day because we have five obligatory prayers
  4. night prayer, last of the five
  5. special extra prayer during Ramadan, prayed after Isha4

Here we go again

when i’m more awake with my mouse I might clean up all these extraneous posts

Another test


Ramadan 3: Suhur 3: Tuna on Croissants

Ramadan 3: Suhur 3: Homemade croissants and tuna

Ramadan 3: Suhur 3: Homemade croissants and tuna,
originally uploaded by Lilandra.

Finally finished making the croissants at 1 am this morning.
More on that later.

Tuna, lettuce, tomatoes on croissants plus lots of water.
We were out of bananas.

Poor us.

Testing Crossposting

For somebody.


Ramadan 3: Second Iftar

Oooo almost time for Suhur and now posting this.

Well, today was HOT HOT HOT.

So, we had grand plans of baking chicken and potatoes and carrots (in a bag) and mmm nice dinner.

Breaking fast with accra, kibbe and chutney

Breaking fast with accra, kibbe and chutney,
originally uploaded by Lilandra.

Mom came home and it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay hot.
Too hot.
Nobody wanted to do anything.
At all.

So she was like, frozen fish thingies and fries?
I was like okay.

But of course 4 pm when she woke up and we went down…madam mom starts prepping the chicken and doesn’t tell me (who is slicing up carrot sticks and seasoning them and drizzling them with honey to bake because just because we’re baking these fish things and chips…well…you know…a vegetable might be nice? I was supposed to make a green salad but I was tired).

My dinner or frozen foods and carrots

My dinner or frozen foods and carrots,
originally uploaded by Lilandra.

After some discussion, she’s like oh well, she’ll prep it so tomorrow we’ll make it without stress. It’ll just be read to pop into the oven (hmm…later we decide lots of leftovers of other things in the fridge so we’ll make this Friday…stay tunes for further updates).

So, while I was prepping and baking things, she fried some kibbe mixture she had in the freezer from the last baked kibbe she made. Niece loved it by the way.

And aunty from next door sent some accra (yum! like saltfish fritters? recipe at chennette’s) over with tamarind chutney.

So, we broke fast with some accra, some kibbe, water, tea and mom had dates.

And then later, I had a saucerful of food.

Munched later.

And…croissants finally made but that’s another story.