Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
June 5, 2010
Mughli and a bag full of Zahleh cherries
It is time for you to see the flip of the coin. Do you think I always live in self deprivation and strict adherence to rules? Today, I attended a baby shower and I feasted like Guargantua!
When my sister was born in 1978 and my brother was born in 1981, I have memories of the contents of the fridge.(I was too young to remember Beyrouth in 1974 when my first brother stole the limelight!) At each of my siblings birth, the fridge's top shelf would overflow with a large amount of a Levantine pudding called Mughli. It is brown and has a gelatine consistency. Nothing as elegant in appearance or name as the Iranian white Yakh dar behesht (which translates as Ice in Heaven). But the top layer of pistachio, almonds, pine nuts and cocunut powder embellish it and render it attractive. It is a dish (rich in grains and cinnamon) that breast feeding mothers eat because it enrichens the milk. But by extension, it is served to the guests that visit the lactating (or not) new mom and to the extended family.
A very close friend of my mother's would prepare her a large quantity at every birth. And my mom would offer it to us for breakfast. (It saves more time than even cereal for breakfast, no need to add milk: good thing for a busy new mom). Eating mughli therefore has a very nice connotation. My "madeleine de Proust"!
I succumbed to the temptation and had a large serving of mughli at my mother's friend's house today (the same one that used to send it to us) for her 5th grandchild (as I did at each of the 4 babyshowers in that family). And then I saw the cherries.
Plentiful, luxuriously sitting in a large glass case, still like a painting. I glanced at their size, noticed their ruby color, bit into a chuncky one. Before long I was thinking of how I could sneak a handfull in my handbag without staining it. Why don't I carry zip locks?
I took a better route. I asked the hostess, the sweet lady that had prepared the mughli and the one hundred other savories and sweets that laid on the beautiful table. "Where are your cherries from?" (I imagined myself rushing to spinneys or goddies to get my own batch). "Ah those are from the orchard in zahleh (village of the Bekaa valley in Lebanon), the last box was freighted here." I dared tell her "had my husband been here, he would have eaten the lot". The sweet lady offered to give me some. In a plastic bag, that I took back home to my husband.
Today I didn't count grammes of protein. Today I would have to climb the set of 45 stairs three times to make up for the feasting. I wanted to give my entry "Eggs" a partner.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!