I couldn't sleep past 7 in the morning today. That's what happens when you get a mother who gets up so early in the morning to start cooking...for dinner.
We held a dawut today, which basically means a dinner party, except it's not a party where you dance or anything, and the dinner is less than formal. It's more like, "I'm-obligated-to-invite-you-over-for-dinner-so-let's-chat-and-have-some-dinner-and-then-you-can-leave."
I'm just kidding. I love dawuts and so does Ammi, but I don't like seeing her getting stressed. And sometimes it's not wholly enjoyable to cook 3 main courses supplied with a series of appetizers and desserts, to be followed with fruit and shortly thereafter, chai and biscuits...all in one day...for, say, 15 people. But at the end of the day, it's all about the good deeds you obtain by serving people and for the sake of Allah, and so it is with such intentions that we hold these dawuts.
Yesterday, we gathered in the living room and held a family discussion to decide the menu. Aren't we such a cute family?
"I want to eat gyros," Humza pointed out.
I rolled my eyes at him. "No one cares what you want to eat. This dinner is clearly not meant for you." By the way, I'm really craving gyros too. Was the last time I had it...three weeks ago?
"Stop it, Iman," Ammi said, trying to focus the conversation. She makes all the decisions of what to make anyway, but we have to be there for support.
"Ammi, can I please make my pasta dish? Everyone will like it so much!" I pleaded. Ammi gave me that look, and I knew where the answer was headed, so I quickly turned to Abu.
"Dad, don't you think we should have some variety in the types of food we serve?"
The look on Dad's face told me that he really wanted to end this family discussion so he can watch some TV. I would have pitied him, except he was out all day and it's his duty as a father to spend time with his family.
"I--yea, I guess so. That's a good idea. Whatever your mom wishes." And with that, he leaned back to slouch on the sofa. How many times need I remind him that he should sit straight and maintain a good posture?
Anyhow, after 35-40 minutes of discussion, the menu was finally decided. Would you care to see?
Vegetable Pakora-fried balls of flour and potato
Beef-filled pastries-fluffy pastries with a filling of ground beef, spices, and mozzarella cheese
Potato Salad-because Mom said I couldn't make my pasta dish, I made this instead
Tandoori Chicken-marinated spicy chicken served with fresh roti
Chicken Biryani-a mixture of spicy chicken and rice served with raita sauce
Mom's Special Fish-tilapia fish cooked with herbs and some spices (a very healthy yet savoring dish)
Gulab Jamun-balls of flour soaked in a sweet syrup topped with saffron
Gajar Ka Halwa-carrot pudding topped with almonds and raisins
Fruit Platter-because dinner would be incomplete without it
Chai and Biscuits-because Indians know how to drink chai excessively the best
I guess that justifies waking up so early during the weekend, but not prioritizing cooking over Salaat. Around five in the evening, I reminded Ammi to pray.
"Ammi, it'll be Asr time soon."
She didn't reply, so I said it again.
"I'll pray later," she replied.
"But, the time for praying Zuhr will be over soon. When are you going to--?"
"Don't start giving me orders now," Ammi interrupted, stirring something in a large pot. She was sweating next to the stove. Just an hour before, she had ordered Abu and Humza to leave the kitchen so she could focus. I thought I should too, just for a little while.
There were three families we invited. The first was a family that had recently immigrated here from India. They are my aunt's sister's family. The second was a couple who were married two years ago, but had recently relocated here from Texas. They had a two-month-old baby boy who was very cute, but I was too afraid to hold him. I can carry furniture, tackle Humza, and sit through an entire 3-hour Bollywood movie, but I can't muster the courage to carry an infant. It's not a problem when they're past a year old though.
So, where was I again? Oh, yea. The third was a couple who got married just three months ago. Man, our family is expanding.
Fortunately, everyone ate dinner very well and repeatedly told Ammi what a great cook she was.
Alas, I could not enjoy dinner for I was overwhelmed with the amount of food in front of me and preoccupied with the task of ensuring that all dishes were full, and if not, that I refilled it. Not to mention I was very busy answering Ayana's questions about how school is like here and I could not be happier that she can now fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor.
By the way, why does everyone want to become a doctor these days? Before I run off on a tangent, I'd at least like to express my sincere hope that the "I want to become a doctor" does not transform to "I want to be like Hannah Montana."
I just had a very late dinner right now, but I am content. And the house is eerily quiet now. Because I ate so late, I have every reason now to stay up late. I should probably start browsing for some new heels online. My sparkling silver heels have made their way into The Salvation Army's donation box and I am sad to part from them, but I must since they no longer fit me.
And now, if you will excuse me, I shall indulge myself in diligently searching for a size 6.5, 3in silver heel.
Happy eating, American Muslim Girl
P.S. Why does this post show up as 7:52? It's actually 11:52pm. Technology is beyond my understanding sometimes.