The luscious, dark, tangy, sweet, and often intoxicating first bite of Christmas pudding is a special reminder of the holiday season for those of British origin. A bonus for those unfamiliar with the aged, steamed cake filled with fruit, liquor, and nuts is the opportunity to douse it with brandy butter and set it aflame.
It has been almost two years since I last laid eyes on a Christmas pudding, and in planning this year’s holiday festivities, I knew it had to be an integral part of our celebration. My husband, however - a Florida native with childhood memories of Jell-O brand products - couldn’t conceive of pudding as something special. Indeed, from an American perspective, tapioca and chocolate pudding is generally the domain of the cafeteria. I had to broaden his dessert horizons.
The celebration of the Islamic holiday of Eid-ul-Adha is a reminder of whole-animal food preparation, an essential process throughout the developing world that is enjoying a renaissance in modern American dining.
Eid-ul-Adha – or Bakra Eid (Eid of the goat) as we called it – is a day on which Muslims around the world sacrifice cows and goats in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God. Growing up in Karachi, I remember trucks stopping door-to-door picking up animal skins, excited chatter about the treats we would soon enjoy, and visiting friends and family to share carefully packaged cuts of meat.
My appreciation and understanding for this tradition took on a new perspective two years ago when my grandmother visited me in Atlanta. My sister and I were discussing this crazy new food movement in the American south that used buzzwords like farm-to-table, organic, and whole-animal cuisine.
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