My thoughts about how food relates to my life and how I relate to food.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
My Muslim Neighbors Gave Me Dinner
I had met my Muslim neighbors earlier this year when the husband/father came over to comment on my tomato plants. He invited me over to see the garden he had planted out back and challenged me to guess what he had planted. I was able to guess everything. When he learned that I am a fan of the kind of food they eat (very similar to Indian cuisine since they're from Pakistan), he said that he would bring me some biryani some time when his wife made it. I thought, OK, that'll be cool, but really didn't expect it.
I know that they have just come out of the end of Ramadan, so I know they are cooking more since they aren't fasting during the day now. My doorbell rang and I was surprised to see the husband at my door. He asked me where my tomato plants were and asked if I remembered that they were going to make me some biryani, that his wife had made some if I still wanted some.
Then I went over to see his garden and saw that he is growing okra in the front flower bed. His tomato plants, which were much smaller than mine were, are HUGE! Meanwhile, mine are dying out back. He had told me he was a farmer in the mountains. I obviously am NOT a farmer, even if my mother was. I decided to ask him if he can rescue my plants.
Back to the food, though. I was given a platter full of some of the best biryani I have ever had - I just LOVE Basmati rice. This had potatoes and chicken in it and a Tandoori chicken leg on top. They also gave me some mint chutney that she'd made. I did eat some with the rice and meat in a tortilla (I didn't have any naan), but I'm not really a fan of mint chutney. Still, the rice was delicious!! I finished what I couldn't eat for dinner at breakfast the next morning.
But, now I have a question. I know there are Muslim Bubblers out there, so this is a question more for you. I would love to do something for them as a thank you for being so nice to me and sharing their meal. I was thinking of making a uniquely American dessert to share with them. I would never consider offering a pork product, but I don't want to offend them accidentally, either. What I was thinking of making is a pan of apple dumplings the way my mother used to make them. I've included a photo here. It is just apples, cinnamon, sugar and pie crust (like might be wrapped around a samosa). No pork fat at all. I just want to know if there is any reason something like that might be the wrong thing to offer. I'd like them to know that I appreciated the meal they shared with me.
So, what do you think? Would apple dumplings be OK or should I consider something else instead?
The Chicken Biryani photo is from Wikimedia Commons and looks very much like what I given. Even the piece of chicken was the same color. But, no bay leaves.
The Apple Dumpling photo came from a website with the accompanying recipe and looks identical to what Mom used to make. She'd put eight dumplings in her pan and then pour the cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar syrup over it before putting it in the oven. What came out was a gorgeous and fragrant dessert surrounded by a thick, caramel-ly cinnamon sauce.