Personally, the tagline ‘The most wonderful time of the year’ always belongs to Ramadan. To be exact, Ramadan at home.
As much as I love slow daily life at home, in Ramadan, everything goes even slower.In my best memories, few days to Ramadan and Eid, the childhood house became clean and bright.
All new bed sheet, towel, curtain, smelled fresh and nice. It was truly like a warm welcome for a special guest.
Heading to the end of Ramadan, the house will be busy with homemade cookies production. For few days, based on the schedule, right after sahur, the kitchen would be filled with the sound of mixer, the messy flour, sugar and butter on the table, stacks of baking trays, and the loud chatting among the people. It felt as busy as a boulangerie dealing with big orders.
This year, with or without this pandemic, for the first time, having Ramadan in a place where there’s no familiar sound and ambience, the only thing that seems possible and doable is having some familiar taste.Unlike the doctor, cooking doesnt spark joy for me.
My cooking skill is only enough to survive. But, baking these cookies are another story. These cookies were one of the strongest memories, happiest moments (in Ramadan) with the people I love the most, in the place once called home. They are too important to let go.The old hand-written recipe had been saved before departure a year ago.
Research and searching for the most similar ingredients had been done thoroughly for weeks. Production timing and all other cooking schedule were set carefully.Plan B had been set just in case the first experiment failed.
Since everything that can be done had been done, the heart is more than half mentally prepared to fail.But as always, Allah is great. He’s too gracious to let me fail since I couldn’t have anything who gave better lebaran-feel-at-home than these precious cookies.
After the mess, the hassles, the doubt and anxiety (because all the energy spent), lots of consultations till the silliest detail to the expert, recalling the past memories while watching my mother did this for years, not to forget the production and post-production backpain doing the detailings mostly alone, with some help from the buddies at home, long hours of baking and multiple checking, then cleaning the chaos afterwards, in long hours
of fasting, it all paid off.
They were as close, as good as I remembered how it was at home.In my family tradition, these three are better be enjoyed altogether. Each could be eaten separately, but together, they make joyful taste in your mouth.
There’s always a right book for every situation. At the end of Ramadan, The Art of Making Memories from CEO of Happiness Research Institute was my companion. This Ramadan showed how retrieving one episode of happy memory in the past became something valuable to create another happy memory in the present, then become something valuable too in the future. It was those happy memories that helped me surviving bad times and keep going (far), no matter what tremendous changes life bring.
Chocolate chips, kaastengels, cashew nuts and the sound of takbir from Spotify.
London, 30 Ramadan 1441 H.