Today is day 1 of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, during which time Muslims abstain from eating or drinking during the day. I arrived in Tunisia the last day of the previous Ramadan and will never forget my first taste of Tunisia, quite literally, a huge late-night dinner with Halima’s family in Bizerte and waking up the next morning to horses galloping up and down streets jam-packed with families and stacks of goods for sale…
And now, 11 months later, I’m at the beginning of Ramadan and fasting along with everyone else. Last night I went with a group of friends for a pre-Ramadan barbeque dinner. It was slightly different from American BBQs in that our dinner, sheep, was slaughtered and cooked curbside. As I carefully made my way around discarded hooves and hides to get to my table, I thought to myself that I’ve come along way from the comfort of Whole Food’s meat section, something I’m grateful for. The fresh meat was delicious and we gorged ourselves. It made my first day of fasting moderately easy.
I taught for 2 hours in the morning and slept through much of the afternoon, then joined the family for dinner at 7:30 PM. We had soup to start, salade mechouia, two types of brik, and a chicken chakchouka. I’ve endeavored to learn how to cook this month, with the trusted expertise of Mansour’s Mom, so I will link to recipes for those who would like to learn along with me. After dinner we all sat around the TV watching sitcoms with watermelon and coffee and now, at 2 in the morning, I’m eating my breakfast before going to bed.
Ramadan teaches patience and spiritual reflection and brings families together, and for this I’m truly looking forward to the next 29 days.