Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eating Humble Pie and Everything Else

This week marked the end of the Islamic fast. After a month of only eating when the sun is set, the Uyghur people break the fast in style by feasting and eating. If you have been keeping up with this blog since last year, you may remember all my rules for eating (or should I say not eating over the holiday).

Over the first two days of the holiday this year I visited seven different homes, and thanks to my trusty rules of eating I was able to get away with only minimal snacking: several pieces of cake, a few pieces of fruit, and a handful or two of candy, two bowls of soup and two steamed stuffed buns. I walked away from my two days of holiday visiting without that constant uncomfortable stuffed feeling. I was so proud of the fact my pants still fit I started boasting to all my uncomfortably over stuffed foreign friends about how well I had learned to survive the onslaught of food, and how comfortable I still felt.

But you know what they say about the prideful having to eat humble pie… on the very last day of holiday visiting I only had one home to go to, and it was one of my friends who is a college student. Her parents live in another town hours away, but they do keep a small apartment here in the city, which is where she had invited us. Both of her parents happened to be there and thought it was a big deal that their daughter’s ‘American’ friends could join them.

We sat down to a table covered with nuts, fruit, and candy. After ten minutes of munching out came the spicy jelly noodles with chick peas. Next, it was followed by a large plate of mutton stew. Our host kept putting more pieces on our plate, she wanted to make sure we got all the big chunks of meat. To help sop up the extra gravy the mother had made a pile of handmade noodles. By this time, I was starting to feel the discomfort coming one. Once the stew was cleared away we were given melon (normally the fruit coming out again is a good sign that the meal has come to a close) but yesterday it only indicated intermission. We still had a large plate of pollo (the rice, carrot, and mutton dish that is very famous with the Uyghur people) and big bowls of soup. Once all of the above had been consumed, the fruit was brought back out, only this time the father insisted that we all try a fresh big pomegranate from their home town. The whole meal of course was washed down by cup after cup of tea. Okay, so maybe during the 3 and half hour ordeal humble pie wasn’t on the menu, but I am pretty sure every other food known to man was.

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