The dishes we decided to make as Qatari are prepared and served across Middle Eastern countries and they have variations in spelling (both the main dish and the dessert). I hope I am not making a huge mistake with the options I chose from the Internet.
I am not familiar with either majboos or mehalabiya. I might have made similar dishes before, but it is always a new ingredient that I learn about. In this case it was the combination of spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric… and dried limes. They are also called “black limes” as they turn black inside when dried. In some countries, they call them “loomi”. I found them in Persian store. Although I needed only a few, I would assume it is used a lot, based on the size of the package I was able to find. They have intense flavour and add a whole new note to the dish. Now I have to figure out how to use the rest of them in my usual cooking. I thought about trying a black lime in tea, so I did a bit of research and they are indeed often used this way.
The photo of the tea on the website from the link above caught my attention because of the borage flower. Suddenly I had a memory flash, taking me back to my teenage years. I was quite a prolific letter writer at that time, sending and receiving letters almost daily from friends all over the country and abroad. One of my friends was from Rijeka (Croatia), but went to Iraq for a short period of time. I was in my early twenties. I still have all of those letters and I remembered that he sent me a dried flower from Baghdad. I remembered him saying that the flowers were hard to find in the desert, and that they usually had deep roots to hold them. Despite the war raging, he went out to pick one for me. In my naive and totally oblivious manner, I asked him about vegetation in Iraq and to send me some photos to “see” as if he was a tourist there. It was forbidden and dangerous, especially for foreigner soldiers, to take any photographs, but it was March 8, the International Women’s Day. and he wanted to surprise me. Equally young and reckless, he went to search for flowers. It is said that “fortune favors the brave” but I would add “and innocent”. Anything could have happened to him, but nothing had. He came back home eventually, got married… we lost touch. I hope he is happy and satisfied with his life somewhere.
How much do we know about each other?
How often we say:
“It is nice of him to do this for me.”
“Such a wonderful person, helping everyone,
bringing joy to everyone,
caring for everyone”
but not realizing that he doesn’t do it for ‘everyone’?
How terrifying it is not to recognize
that we have become someone special to someone,
and we brush it off?
How powerful is the heart’s call?
We swipe everything in front of us,
blind for pain or low voices,
pushed by glowing energy inside,
hoping that we can bring everyone along,
united, harmonious with our heartbeats.
Those without answer stay on the margin
When a heart is offered on a plate,
how vulnerable we are to every word, every action?
What is the meaning of the Cupid’s arrows
flying in different directions and never hitting a target?
Who is there to tell us that there will be
so many missed opportunities for love,
and so many mistakes that we will make?