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The Journal of a slightly depraved Mef
In which there is not nearly enough food. *sob* 
3rd-Sep-2008 06:32 pm
tea!
It's Ramadan again! My favourite time of year, though I have to admit that I'm a little glad it ends before Freshers week begins. Last year I posted a list of 10 things to expect from Ramadan. I was sitting around ignoring my Evil Reading List From Hell and emphatically not thinking about the chocolate in my drawer, when it occurred to me that I'd missed a few important things from said list, and that it was practically my duty to ignore the Evil Reading List some more, in favour of updating you all.

So, I came up with:

Four more things to expect from Ramadan

1. Expect the Moon Sighting Wars. Thanks to the lunar calender, Ramadan is supposed to begin with the sighting of the new moon. This sounds simple enough, in theory.

Muslim 1: They started Ramadan in Canada today.
Muslim 2: *derisively* Hah. Canadians. They always start early.
Muslim 3: We started yesterday! When do you guys begin?
Muslim 1: Oh, day-after-tomorrow, we follow Ayatollah X, and he says that it begins on the 5th this year, unless it happens to be raining, of course, and then it's the 3rd. If it were raining during a leap year though, we'd be back to the 5th, so long as the flamingo population south of the Nile hadn't increased by more then 20% in the past year, in which case it would be the 2nd. Something to do with precipitation in the atmosphere and whether you need to be able to actually see the whole moon or just know that it's there.
Muslim 2: Makes sense.
Muslim 3: No it doesn't. We follow Ayatollah Z. He says Ramadan begins when the moon is sighted in the Eastern Hemisphere, (except for when Ramadan falls during the summer or the migratory season of birds), because your Western eyes are blinded by all your light pollution and Godlessness! Ayatollah X is stupid.
Muslim 1: Yeah, well, your face is stupid!

And a brawl ensues, in which Ayatollah X, Ayatollah Z, Wahhabis, Sunnis, Sufis, 'Those-New-Young-Sissy-Shias-Who-Wouldn't-Recognise-Biriyani-If-It-Bit-Them-In-The-Arse' and everyone's respective mothers will all be insulted without compunction until someone manages to separate everyone and invite them all over for Iftar. (Once food is mentioned, all arguments will be forgotten.)

2. Expect to gain at least a few pounds in Ramadan. The Mysterious Weight Gain will hit you hardest in the years when you've spent the months leading up to Ramadan gorging on chocolate, telling yourself your flab will just drop off when you're fasting. Expect to receive no sympathy from your family/friends when you moan about your weight gain to them. They will either cast pointed glances at the chocolate wrappers in your bin, or try to help you in cruel and unusual ways, by stealing the krispy kremes you always buy for just after sunset, (because krispy kremes are practically a requirement in Ramadan), or replacing the chocolate stash under your bed with bananas. And expect to never, ever understand where all the new flab comes from, and to end up accepting that fat just comes looking for you during Ramadan, and attaches itself to you out of spite.

3. Expect the slow but steady creep of commercialisation. Expect to walk into Tescos and find 'New! Ramadan Advent Calendars, 20% off!'. Expect to weep for the lost innocence and integrity of your favourite religious holiday. Expect to buy one of said advent calendars anyway, and to horde the camel shaped chocolates in particular because they taste best and you like biting the little heads and hooves off.

4. Expect to become embroiled in the Food Plate Competitions. In Ramadan, it's customary to always cook at least ten times more than you need, so that you can send the rest around to your neighbours and wallow smugly in your own generosity. Your mother/aunt/older-female-relative-of-your-choice will be busily sending you out to deliver plates of samosas and cookies and little fruit-on-a-cocktail-stick-thingies in the first week of Ramadan. All will be well, until your neighbours decide that they want to get in on the smug wallowing, and start sending you food plates in return. Bigger ones. These are seen as challenges, which must be met. It can all get quite nasty.

Ro: Hey! Number 3 down the road sent us back some chocolate cake!
Mum: That cow. Now I've got to make my coconut and fig surprise for her. She does this to me every year.
Ro: *edges towards the door*
Mum: Where are you going? Get back here! Number 8 sent us twenty chicken pastries this morning, we've got to send back at least thirty samosas. Well, start folding!

It's not all bad though. You learn new skills, after all.

Little Sister: *walking in* Are you cooking?! Willingly?! Did someone let you watch cooking shows again? I thought we'd all talked about this after the giant cookie mountain incident.
Ro: *holds up shapely, freshly baked samosa* I've made twenty so far!
Little Sister: *faintly* My God. The end is nigh.

As it turns out, you're supposed to fry samosas, not bake them. I've managed to get rid of them anyway, by fobbing them off to people as the healthier option. Hah. :D


There are the nice points too, of course. Ramadan is filled with lovely, sweet, unselfish things, like family and community and friends and really good food after 8pm. It's nice to know you're not struggling to be a better person on your own. But all those things are sugary and cliched enough to be really difficult to write about, so I'm going to wander back to the Evil Reading List of Doom now.
Comments 
3rd-Sep-2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
reading list of doom..? ouch. :s

hehe fun times in ramadan...when are you free over the next two weeks for non-food related socialising? I haven't seen you in far too long.
3rd-Sep-2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
"reading list of doom..? ouch. :s"

*nods sadly*

I'm free for most of the next two weeks I think. Might be a little busy around the 13th, but I can get out of things. :) It definitely has been too long.
3rd-Sep-2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
awesome sauce. is the 8th or 9th good for you? (monday or tuesday next week, that is)

3rd-Sep-2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'll need to double check, but either of those days should be fine. Tuesday might be a little easier. :)

What shall we do? We could do an ice cream and movies marathon like last year. :)
3rd-Sep-2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
tuesday sounds good. and that sounds like a most excellent plan :D let me know when you know what's happening :-)
3rd-Sep-2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Dang, all that food sounds fabulous. Worth fasting for. Put on a few pounds for me too, would you?
3rd-Sep-2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
It really is fabulous. I became impatient today at dinner, after spending all day thinking about different foods, and ending up being forced to eat rice and curry. I ended up carting ketchup, gherkins, and two different kinds of chocolate muffins to the table. A girl should not be kept waiting for her eccentric snacks.

Put on a few pounds for me too, would you?

*Tucks happily into a chocolate croissant*



3rd-Sep-2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
*would be pretty happy with rice and curry herself*
3rd-Sep-2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
there is another kind of ramadan. :)
3rd-Sep-2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
That looks like an awesome kind of Ramadan. What a great idea! I think I'll try celebrating Candy Ramadan in the lead up to my exams.
3rd-Sep-2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
I am unfortunatly half celebrating Ramadan this year, as my teachers are muslim and I'm trying to be respectful and not eat in class.

Drat it all, anyway. I'm Catholic! I DID my fast already!
3rd-Sep-2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
I am unfortunatly half celebrating Ramadan this year, as my teachers are muslim and I'm trying to be respectful and not eat in class.

Drat it all, anyway. I'm Catholic! I DID my fast already!


Lol! If it helps, I'm sure that your teachers appreciate it. :)
3rd-Sep-2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
I thought we'd all talked about this after the giant cookie mountain incident.

... do tell. *sits down with popcorn to listen*
3rd-Sep-2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, well...

A few years ago I trailed home morosely one rainy November day, and decided, as you do on morose, rainy November days, that cookies were in order.

'How hard can it be?', I thouht to myself dusting down some cookie mix packets. The instructions were fairly straightforward, and I soon had something resembling dough. I rolled out the little cookie balls and placed them on a shiny grease-proofed baking tray. The trouble was, the instructions said nothing about needing to leave more than a few centimetres between each ball, (I guess they were relying on consumers having that pesky common sense), so I crammed about twenty balls onto one small tray, with all the biggest ones in the middle for symmetry.

When I came back 20 mins later, and cookies had expanded and melded into some kind of weird, crusty cookie cake, higher in the middle than around the edges. So we named it the cookie mountain and sprinkled chocolate on it and put whipped cream on the top and ate it and since I told everyone that I'd done it on purpose, they made me promise never to watch creative cooking shows again.

And that is the story of the giant cookie mountain incident. :)
4th-Sep-2008 02:02 am (UTC)
That is freakin' AWESOME. I long for a giant cookie mountain. Great post. :)
4th-Sep-2008 11:09 am (UTC)
If you ever make it over here or I make it over there Checkers, I promise to make a giant cookie mountain for you. :) Glad you enjoyed!
4th-Sep-2008 02:06 am (UTC)
so I crammed about twenty balls onto one small tray, with all the biggest ones in the middle for symmetry.

lololol!
Ro, you truly take the cake when it comes to cooking fiascoes
4th-Sep-2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
Ro, you truly take the cake when it comes to cooking fiascoes

:D Was that pun intentional, or am I really just incredibly hypersensitive about food at the moment?
4th-Sep-2008 11:03 am (UTC)
You know, if you do it again, it would be on purpose.

May I suggest that you made one at, say, the end of September? Just pulling a time-frame out of my head here. ;)
4th-Sep-2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
I think I see where you're going with your entirely-random-choice of date. :)

I know that there are two packets of cookie mix skulking around somewhere, I could have a go...
10th-Sep-2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
I heartily approve of this plan A+++
3rd-Sep-2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain with the Evil Reading List From Hell. I'm dutifully trying to plough on with mine, but keep getting distracted by the internet (it's very distracting! I was just out of the country for nearly two weeks; catching up is a must). I hope you manage to get on with yours better than I have with mine. Enjoy all of your post-8pm eating, and I hope the fasting goes okay.
3rd-Sep-2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
I'm halfway through my first book from the list, so I think it's fair to say that I'm not doing too well. In my defence, I only got the reading list a week after results day. And I've talked to someone else doing my course who says she's only planning on reading 2/3 books, which makes me feel better. :)

What's featured on your reading list? And thank you for the good wishes. :)
3rd-Sep-2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
In my Victorian Literature list (which is the one I'm focusing on) there's a lot of Dickens (Bleak House, Great Expectations, Hard Times) as I have to write an essay on him in time for my first tutorial. I've read them all and discovered, to my abject relief, that I love him. I may not understand him, exactly, but at least I don't want to hurl the books across the room. Also included on the list are North and South/Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell, Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss, Jude the Obscure, A Child of the Jago by Arthur Morrision and Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It's slow going, but I haven't had a complete breakdown yet, which is something. How about your list?
4th-Sep-2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Just a note of encouragement: Middlemarch gets really good once you get past page 200 or so!
4th-Sep-2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Ramadan Advent Calendars, 20% off!'. Expect to weep for the lost innocence and integrity of your favourite religious holiday. Expect to buy one of said advent calendars anyway, and to horde the camel shaped chocolates

*wants a Ramadan Advent Calendar with camel shaped chocolates!*
4th-Sep-2008 11:07 am (UTC)
*wants a Ramadan Advent Calendar with camel shaped chocolates!*

*will think of you as she munches on hers*

They are pretty cool in a slightly creepy way.
4th-Sep-2008 11:05 am (UTC)
^_^ at all the Expectations. I shall share this with my muslim friends that are not you.

I've heard all about the different startings - Faathima did it last year so that the feasting day was her birthday (coincidence...?), but our other friend finished two days later (so no partaking in the pizza ordering to school) and my other other friend finished the day before.
4th-Sep-2008 11:06 am (UTC)
Also.

*pokes*

Where are these emails I was expecting?
4th-Sep-2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
*points at deluge*

My laptop keyboard's died now though - it's taken me three minutes just to type this comment, and I can't be bothered to go plug the other keyboard in. Deluge will commence later.
10th-Sep-2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Wheeeeeeeeee! It's a good thing I didn't realise Ramadan was coming up, because I was thinking about trying it (or at least trying one day a week, as it sounds very much like a communal thing [which is awesome] and I'd be doing it more as a religious self-denial thing [which it is too, I know, but it seems like having neighbors to compete share with makes it a teensy bit easier) this yeah and ça would not marche (I find myself saying that in English all the time!) in France.

As usual, LOLOL *gigantic sourire*
11th-Sep-2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
It's more fun and much easier as a communal thing, but people enjoy it alone too, if you do decide to give it a go sometime. :) Mais oui, ca ne...marcherait (?) pas en France.
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