Or so says Oscar Wilde. But reader, I resisted! Last week was Eid al Adha and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippour. I forget the correct order as I am vehemently not religious, but I’m all for inclusion, tolerance and sharing. Especially where food and fun is concerned. Which is why I was so proud of our daughter’s school where Muslim and Jewish parents put on a sumptuous joint banquet of delicacies. Many of the mums know I’m gluten intolerant, so they brought things especially so I could partake as well. And I didn’t want to offend them by saying ‘Well, you know, now I don’t eat soy, meat, fish or dairy either’. So i dabbled in a few salads, the falafels saved the day as always and then I got a make-shift doggie bag for the mouth-watering meatball tajine my friend Iman had prepared.
Many many moons ago I spent a summer working for the UN in Morocco and sublet a flat from a colleague while he was on summer leave. His housekeeper Malika was such a good cook and she ‘taught’ me how to make this amazing meatball tajine, with a fragrant tomato sauce and eggs cooked in the sauce. I say taught because of the language barrier, so I ‘had’ to eat it lots of times to make sure I would remember all the flavours. Mmm, the smell coming from my little doggie bag was a madeleine in itself!
Speaking of smells, once we got home from school, there were almost cartoon-like fingers of temptation wafting from under the neighbour’s door, getting ready for Eid. When we went to wish them Eid Mubarak, we were of course invited for mint tea (poured the right way, from up high), little morsels of sweet deliciousness and some of the lamb pictured above, which I took home for Mr J. So at least the rest of the family could partake, while I wallowed in self-pity. At least Bahija, my neighbour, promised me to teach me how to make the dish once I was no longer 100% vegetarian.
Lamb, spices, slow-roasting… it was all there, all my favourite things. But I resisted, and that is no mean feat <insert smiley for pat on back>
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