Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Samoosa Boycott

Wait, what? A boycott of samoosas? Who are we protesting against? No, this is not a mass politcal or ideological protest, it is just my immediate family and I boycotting against our own vices and extravagences. 

Next week marks the beginning of the month of Ramadaan, the month where Muslims around the world abstain from all food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

Now, if my Islamic memory of Islamic history serves me correctly, back in the day when the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) broke his fast, a simple meal of dates and water was typical, with perhaps light food thereafter. In contrast, in this day and age, it has become a tradition in many parts of the world, South Africa included, to break ones fast with a vast array of delicious samoosas, pies, spring rolls and all sorts of other- usually deep fried delicacies. Typically, in my home, a main meal or a rich dessert often follows thereafter. 


I have often pondered on how this tradition came about, as to me, it seems to far from the simplicity and modesty that the Muslim religion propagates. I have heard the argument that these foods can be prepared well in advance, eliminating the need to spend hours in the kitchen during the month of Ramadaan and thus leaving more time for prayer during this month. Paradoxically, I still usually find myself spending more time on food preparation in this month than I usually do. I can put together a healthy regular meal in the same amount of time or less than it takes to fry up two or three varieties of frozen savouries (which took many hours to reach the stage where they get stacked in the freezer).

I think the other reason we tend to prepare all these delicacies is that we feel like we have earned it. After a day of no food, we crave all things delicious and want to treat ourselves to all things delectable. However, I do not believe that this month is or should be about rewarding oneself.

This year, we have decided that we will do something revolutionary (okay, perhaps not revolutionary for poverty-stricken Muslims across the world but revolutionary in our circles)- cut out the fried savouries. This was my dear husband's idea but I am more than willing to play along. In previous years, we noticed that after a couple of weeks of too much oily stuff, we noticed the outward physical effects- feeling sluggish and bad skin (not to mention all the damage all that cholesterol must be doing internally). I have even been known to put on weight during Ramadaan! Surely that can't be right? Part of being a Muslim is taking care of the assets left in your trust, which includes looking after your body. So this year, we will for the most part, be preparing the same meals that we usually do during the rest of the year.

As an added bonus, I now have more time on my hands in the weeks preceding Ramadaan. I plan to use it doing fun Ramadaan based crafts with my little ones in the next few days, creating crescent moons and the adorable moon-sighting binoculars that I have seen all over social media. I have seen some great Ramadaan craft ideas all over the internet but I think this post by Gilded Dunya has some that are perfect for the age-group that my children are in.

To my Muslim readers,n early Ramadaan Mubarak. What do you typically eat in Ramadaan?