Nafas

Food is my love language. If I care about you as a friend or family member I would like to feed you. My favorite way to do this is to find new and interesting recipes a friend or family member would enjoy trying.

Everyone’s family has dishes that are important to them. My dad’s cheesy eggs were the best. No one can top those. My mom’s carrot cake is only rivaled by her chip dip. I am certain I have eaten both within 24 hours and felt better for it.

The Arabic word nafas, translated to breath or spirit, is the energy people put into food preparation that makes it seem exceptional to the people who eat it. Bottom line is, if the person making it isn’t feeling it you aren’t going to fall in love with the dish.

My favorite cooking show is The Great British Bake Off. I enjoy this show because it is so supportive and positive. Val, a former contestant and overall angel of a human being, once stated:

The book Like Water for Chocolate covers this (thanks again for letting me borrow that, Jeca!). The narrator of LWFC told us “With a little imagination and a full heart one can always prepare a decent meal.”

Similarly, Eric Ripert, hugely famous chef and pal of my favorite chef Anthony Bourdain, once noted:

“If you have in your life something cooked by someone in your family who put love in the food — you feel something, something. There’s a sensation, and I think a lot of people have the same experience — that can make the difference in between something that has been cooked by someone who loves to cook and loves to put good energy in that food to make you happy. … It explains why you can feel the love in the food.”

From Ripert’s book 32 Yolks

Bottom line: Food made by someone who cares about you just tastes better.

Food Rituals

This post is about a serving dish instilling that same feeling of being cared about. It is a simple milk carafe from my childhood, which I have spent so long trying to find a replacement for. Then, without warning, it was on my front porch. My mom mailed it to me as a surprise! Thanks again, mama! 🙂

Here’s the carafe, which was part of my school morning breakfast routine for years:

I was an only child growing up, which meant that I had a lot of alone time. I was a kid who took her time getting ready for the day and had no younger siblings to herd or older siblings to push me through the morning routines before school.

My parents both worked and my dad left earlier in the morning to avoid rush hour going to and from work. We all shared one full bathroom, which meant we got ready in shifts. My dad used the bathroom first, then my mom. I would shower while my mom had coffee and picked out her work outfit. Then she’d go back to the bathroom to finish getting ready while I ate breakfast.

Before my dad left for work, he’d put a bowl of cereal on a placemat with this pink carafe full of cold milk. Whenever I would amble to the kitchen table, my breakfast was waiting for me! No soggy cereal. No rush. It was ideal for my stubborn “I’ll get there when I get there” childhood self.

This was not the part of the ritual I remember most (though I must admit that the satisfying crunch of freshly milked cereal is not lost on me). Usually in the morning my dad would follow me around the house, calling me princess and making jokes. I would stare through him with a hardened gaze, similar to Bill Laimbeer:

Always so angry, Bill...

Anyways, while he pushed every button possible and I glared and stomped like a four-eyed Joe Pesci, my mom would counter this with “she’s not awake yet!” or “leave her alone!” And my dad wouldn’t because pissing off a small child is almost always hilarious. And there was a pink carafe of mia culpa waiting in the kitchen anyways. He would take off for work and I’d eat my cereal, reading the back of the box for entertainment.

I think the most interesting part of this is knowing there’s no pictures of me using this carafe. It was a part of my morning ritual just like my toothbrush and backpack. It was not considered “special” but a humble part of our morning routine.

It was more than that, though. It was a gesture from my parents that said “we are all doing our own thing and the cereal is waiting for you when you’re ready.” Being seen like that, knowing that your parents are aware that rushing you is a disaster, feels like a hug. It is a gesture that shows so much love. That carafe was full of nafas.

Dunkaroos

Seeing and holding this carafe brought back so many memories. The recipe this week is a simple one for when you have too much icing. I made adorbs cupcakes for my friend and had leftover buttercream. SO- there was no choice… I had to make dunkaroos!

I bought these adorable birthday cake bunnies from Annies Organics with the hopes to use them for the Easter Brunch. Alas, they arrived after so they became dunkaroos!

Side bar- I did not pick up on the fact that Dunkaroos had an Aussie twist. But the shapes were basketballs and sneakers as well? So the Dunkaroo mascot was a sneakerhead who lived in Australia but knew how to dunk basketballs AND “arroos” as well? Strange stuff. I guess I didn’t question most commercials after Nancy Reagan made me afraid of fried eggs.

I usually sign off with my logo, but I found this when looking for a solid Laimbeer pic. Enjoy!

XO,

P.S.-If you have no idea who Bill is or why he’s so angry- watch this

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