Saturday, 13 August 2011

A tale of rice pudding (kheer)

On Tuesday, my Mum invited her friend over to our house. because her in-laws were visiting from Pakistan; so it was an amalgamation of both and Iftar and a Dawat. My Mum, not wanting to disappoint, pulled out all the stops and made quite a few dishes; Pakistanis-and Asians in general are renowned for their hospitality. So they came, they talked, and they ate; they ate quite a lot for people who'd been fasting. If you've ever fasted, you'll know that by the time you open your fast, you're not that hungry and you can't eat that much. And then, before you could say the word hypothyroid, they left so that they could drive home and get to the mosque to pray Taraweeh. My Mum had initially intended to give them food to take home in containers (it's an Asian thing), but since they left so quickly, she didn't get the chance.

So, us, as a family of five adults and one baby, were left with all these dishes to consume over the next few days, which seemed like a daunting task as there was A LOT of it. (*disclaimer- I'm not complaining by the way, I'm very grateful for the food we had/have Alhamdulillah). Now the one dish I wasn't looking forward to eating was Kheer; and there were two massive bowls of it. I've never liked it, ever. I tried it once when I was younger at my Granny's house and I've refused to eat it since. It was served at my friend's wedding recently and I didn't eat it, even though my Arab friend and her Mum loved it.

Excuse the vulgarity, but to me, Kheer looks like someone has vomited the contents of their stomach into a bowl and then served it to you. It actually does. I then realised I can be quite fussy when it comes to the texture of certain foods. Kheer is thick, stodgy, and gloopy; well the one my Mum made is, anyway. In the days after they left, my parents would have a bowl each of Kheer at Iftar time. It was becoming quite clear that the Kheer was gonna hang around for weeks on end if they carried on like this. Me and my two sisters refused to eat it, our reasons being the way it looked. My Dad kept joking about how one day, we'd have to have Kheer only for Sehri and we'd have to do that for a couple of days to get it all eaten. But last night, he was far from joking and forced us to have some; at least try it. I really didn't want to have it, because I was full and didn't need pudding, and I just couldn't see past the way it looked.

After much resistance, I took a small spoonful of Kheer, placed it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed it slowly. I really didn't like the texture, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked the taste; as it was nice and sweet. I continued eating it, and ate two small bowls of it, even though I was stuffed. Once I finished eating it, I realised how utterly stupid I'd been to judge the dish based on what it looked like, and hold a prejudice for many years. Our tastes change so much from our childhood; things that I used to like and eat then I don't now, and vice versa.

This incident reminded me of the quote "never judge a book by its cover ", and although this quote is thrown around a lot, do we understand it or act upon it? (myself included). It's really dangerous when we base our perceptions and judgements of something on what it looks like; and this can be applied to humans as well as food. Such a simple thing taught me such a poignant lesson.

No comments: