After months of being cocooned, it is nice to finally feel like a butterfly emerging out into the open. But I am not flying too far, just fluttering out into my backyard, to smell the fresh air, soak up the sunshine, and simply exhale. It has been an extraordinarily exhausting ride, and it’s nice to have a long weekend respite to look forward to as we approach Memorial Day and a small cookout. As I wish my Muslim friends a virtual Eid Mubarak and plan my memorial day menu, I reflect on how will I spend the long weekend.
Eid is a time to break the month long fast of Ramadan, and Memorial Day is a time to fire up the grill and enjoy the aroma of slightly charred corn. And although most of the US is beginning to apprehensively reopen, with safety and physical health still being a priority, I am not planning to go to the Jersey shore any time soon. Of course, a visit with friends or a trip to an exotic locale is out of the question. So why am I looking forward to this weekend?
For the first time in months, I sense a tiny taste of freedom, at least from the indoors. With enough supplies for our backyard cookout, and taking inspiration from friends who are celebrating Eid-Al-Fitr — Eid Mubarak to my friends–I will spend time with my family outdoors, cooking up some glorious meals and reminiscing about holidays past and the way we were before COVID-19.
Now that my herbs are coming up, I am planning to rustle up some Afghani-inspired grilled eggplant steaks with minty yogurt sauce or a spicy deconstructed Hyderabadi baghara baingan. With mint, coriander, chillies, parsley, and spices, I plan to make fresh Yemeni Zhug sauce to drizzle on Kobe beef burgers or on my grilled portobello burger. On the side, I’ll whip up some grilled asparagus, corn, peppers, and zucchini, as well as Seema’s famous potatoes. Of course no Eid celebration is complete without delicious Sheer Khurma.
The pool is finally open, so if the clouds clear and the weather warms up, I’ll be relaxing there as we fire up the grill and celebrate health and safety with my family. I’ll also be giving thanks to all of the healthcare workers and others on the front lines. While this isn’t a time for large celebrations, it is a time to rest and relax, for just a few days, until we have to get back to work and continue the path to a new normal.
Women who have been on the front lines of COVID-19 have faced a huge burden and plenty of hardship in the last few months. And women in general bear the heavier brunt of the impact of the pandemic in more ways than one. But hopefully this weekend we all will get a chance to take a break, put up our feet, and enjoy some rest and respite. I plan to turn off the news. And to take a break and maybe even a virtual vacation.
You don’t have to go far to enjoy some rest in your own backyard, and maybe flex your cooking skills with a grill-out.
Check out this traditional sheer khurma recipe for Eid