9:52 AM

Everyone's a Cinderella 2

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Cleaning Arab style wasn't easy at all. You have to spend hours and hours doing the whole works weekly. Sometimes daily depending where you live and how many children you have.
At first all I had to do was make my bed, organize my one-door closet, sweep and mop my bedroom floor. Bi-weekly. This felt like a lot of work to me. Then I had to start doing my own laundry in a washing machine that you have to fill bucket by bucket by hand. Once it's washed you have to rinse it and wring it by hand and put it in the spinner. Once all that is finshed you hang it to dry.
Also I had to learn to start cooking real food not ramen noodles and garlic flavored rice. I had worked at a movie theater so that was my diet in addition to popcorn and soda. No veggies no fruits. I was not in healthy shape. The mosquito bites I scratched took ages to heal and where I scratched my hand at work it took also ages to heal but after two weeks of good eating in Lebanon of fresh veggies and fruits they healed swiftly. So I learned the tedious tasks of scrubbing veggies and how to peal them and cut them up. No open can and dump in pan method here. I was so slow and clumbsy with a knife. Cutting potatoes took me hours to make french fries for the whole family. This was my job because it took me hours and I think they wanted me to practice with a knife more... I learned how to scoop out the innerds of zucchinis (kousa) and stuff them with rice and meat. I learned how to roll grape leaves with rice and meat. And all other Arab dishes taht are so popular. My main task besides potatoes in the kitchen was pealing, cutting, and pounding garlic. I loved the smell and flavor so i was fun for me. In the motar and pedstle I'd grind and smash the garlic then add sea salt and fresh squeezed lemon juice for the dish of that time. (meaning I'd do this many times a day for each meal).
Besides helping with the food and learning to serve tea and coffee to guests I learned how to weekly clean the whole house top to bottom with my in-laws. In Lebanon many rooms have holes/drain in the floor so you can throw water and soap on the floor and swish them around with these brooms then using a giant squeegy guide the water to the drains. You start at one side of the hosue scooting the soap and water to each room and adding water when it becomes too dirty (as they do this weekly there isn't TOO much dirt so only minimal water is needed). After each room you take a rag cloth and mop up the access water that may have pooled like under beds or around bed legs. We roll up the carpets and beat them with stick-wands on the balcony. Finally everything is sparking clean and all the windows and doors (glass) are clean too. We relax for all of ten iminutes after putting everything back. Then it's time to go make lunch because soon the men will be returning. After we eat with the men and sit and chat as a family we get some free time to do what we like (usually I wrote or if my younger sister-in-law at the time wanted to play games I'd oblige). This goes on until evening when again we heat up the food or make something new (though usually we made enough in the afternoon to last all day and have leftovers for the morning). Again we sit with family in the evening chatting and drinking tea. In the mountains you have to go visit a lot or have visitors alot and offer them food and drinks constantly. It was hard at first for me but after a few months everything was very natural. I became a good cleaner and a pretty good cook....

1 intelligent thoughts:

Umm Ibrahim said...

Salam... looks like Lebanon was quite an eye opener for you sis!

Umm Ibrahim x

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