We had such a treat last night: a cooking demonstration and traditional Saudi Arabian meal, right here at the schoolhouse.
Nora and her daughter Sarah did the cooking, while Aziz, the son, translated. He doesn‘t know how to cook, and his mother and sister don’t speak English, so we did a lot of guessing. Actually I was surprised at how universal the physical language of cooking is, and how useful for communicating! Most of the time I guessed what Nora needed before Aziz got the term.
The centerpiece of the meal was an elaborate platter of jasmine rice, boiled in broth of two hens (with lots of spices and two whole dried lemons). The hens were then doused with some sautéed onions and put in a hot oven to brown; then stuffed with boiled broken spaghetti and some more onions, and placed on top of the rice, sprinkled with pine nuts and the remaining onions. We had to hunt out the biggest platter I own, that only comes out for the Thanksgiving turkey.
All of this (together with a salad) was carried to the table, which had been set by the girls. We admired the food, and Nora told us that “the eyes eat before the stomach”. I love that!
She and her children very graciously served up all the plates, and Aziz skillfully carved the two hens for fourteen people. He tried to get us to eat with our hands, like him, but I noticed that Sarah and Nora were using forks!
After we ate Aziz served the men, and Sarah served the girls, tiny cups of “Arabic coffee”. It was our second hot drink of the night. I’m sure our after dinner cup was ginger coffee with lots of sugar and some cinnamon. The first one was creamier with lots of floral and spicy notes…
Such an enjoyable evening! Nora has a twinkling, friendly, quiet presence and showed off her fancy party clothes under her covering coat when all the men were outside.
A culture so different from ours, but cooking and eating together, and good times in the kitchen and around the table, are truly universal.
is an evangelical Christian. She lives in a 1920’s school, converted into a home, with her five homeschooled children and her composer husband. She shares aspects of her life, documented by beautiful photography, on her blog, Pleasant View Schoolhouse (where you can read the full text of this story). http://pleasantviewschoolhouse.blogspot.com
we had such a treat last night
- z včerejšího večera jsme měli skutečný požitek
we did a lot of guessing - hodně jsme jen hádali
- talíř (mělký)
broth of two hens
- vývar ze dvou slepic
dried lemons - sušené citrony
- osmahnutá cibulka
the hens were doused / stuffed / sprinkled
- slepice byly polity / naplněny / posypány
- piniové oříšky
to hunt out
- zde: vylovit, vydolovat
to admire - obdivovat
- porcovat, naporcovat
floral and spicy notes
- květinové a kořeněné příchutě
she has twinkling presence
– doslova “má zářivou přítomnost”, t.j. září, rozjasňuje místnost
to share - sdílet, sdílet se
- hudební skladatel
- děti, které nechodí do školy a učí se doma