A pink taxi

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.


  1. Mughli in Arabic means over boiled because of the long time it takes to get it prepared.I remember the best Mughli been prepared at the house of my eldest aunt.She also prepared " sniynieh" which is another delicious milk and wheat pudding served when the baby gets his first tooth.
    I had the pleasure of assisting in yesterday's baby welcome bash!Unfortunately,I did not get to thenZahle cherries because they were depleted by our celebrated blogger and her husband!
    One little secret was that I refrained from tasting the delicious Mughli because of the mishap that I endured 4 years ago in NYC.On the arrival of my grandson,two grandmothers and one great grandmothers were trying to concoct the recipe of a Mughli a l'americaine,when I was rushed to surgery for an urgent back operation!I never tasted the dish again!

  2. Besides my father,I was the only other man at the Mubaraka yesterday. And I'm very happy i went! I had wara anab, musakhan, mughli, and the Zahle cherries. All to die for! I will need to run for 1 hour on the treadmill, do 100 squats, 100 lunges, and 100 deadlifts to punish mysefl for my glutony.