Category Archives: misc/personal

dinner at maysaa’s

last night my beautiful friend Maysaa treated us to some exquisite iraqi, syrian and lebanese food. gorgeous salads to start with (fattoush and tabbouleh), kibbeh, dolma mahshi (stuffed onions) and dolmas made with grape leaves, fatayer with cheese, spinach and meat, and finally rice and qeema (a stew with chickpeas and ground beef, traditionally served during muharram). for dessert, we had warbat which reminded me of baklava (just as crispy, filled with custard or pistachios, walnuts, and almonds), and halawet el jibn (made with cheese dough, filled with cream, drenched in sugar syrup and rose water) – to die for. what a feast and what wonderful conversation. thank u so much maysaa and mazin.

Gifts from Janani

Haldi Kumkum ceremony, is a social gathering in India in which married women exchange haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion powder) – see the pretty sachet in the picture – as a symbol of their married status and wishing for their husbands’ long lives.

The ceremony is particularly popular in the western Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa. In Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Aadiperukku aka Aadi monsoon festival.

dinner at janani’s

lovely, intimate dinner and #gupshup with the beautiful Janani Parthasarathi. janani treated me to tamil cuisine from the southern tip of india: delicious adai (pancake made with lentils and rice) that i sprinkled with gur (brown sugar from sugarcane), rasam which reminded me of karhi pakora, gojju made with tamarind and butternut squash, puliyore (a rice dish with peanuts), poriyal with cabbage and peas, and vella payasam (a fragrant kheer made with date sugar). there was also homemade dahi (yogurt) which took me back to pakistan. what a feast, what wonderful company. thank u janani.

coffee with heather

with the incredibly talented Heather Layton at Starry Nites Cafe this afternoon – we talked about teaching, art and activism, grants and future projects, saudi society and how it’s changing, US presidential elections, as well as our personal lives. so happy to catch up dear heather, and see u in long island 🙂

heather layton and mara ahmed