To waylay their fears and satisfy their curiosity we invited all the Uyghur families living in our stair well (8 households in all). We had no idea how many people would actually venture to come. While extending the invitation I made sure to inform them that our house was halal, and that we bought all our food from Muslim stores so that they didn’t need to worry.
We pushed back all our furniture and put the servring space on the floor, just like they would in the Uyghur country side. We made sure there were plates and plates of snack food, even though they barely touch any of this stuff.
My roommate and I both showed off our hand at making traditional food. K made Pollo (rice cooked with lamb, carrots, and raisins) and I made da pan ji (literally big plate of chicken, which is chicken, potatoes, peppers and local spices). Wearing the head scarf in the kitchen really does help prevent the oil from settling in your hair (Uyghur food is very oily), just like the apron almost kept it all from splating on my nice atlas top.
When the guest finally came we spread kurpas on the floor to create a soft place to sit. In the end five women and eight children came over. They didn’t eat much of our feast, but they did all seem to have a good time. The kids stole the camera and got this great shot of two very tired hostesses. Tired or not we are now officially part of the neighbourhood.