…All this as prelude to the moment of my friend’s arrival, when he actually gave the mostly-eaten basket of pastries back to the waiter in disgust (at me, for ruining my appetite with these snacks!), and promptly ordered me to a rooftop I didn’t even realize existed, for a proper breakfast. Upward and onward!
Like most cross-cultural foods, there are a zillion and one recipes for loxoox, from Somalia and Somaliland to Djibouti, Yemen, and even as far as Israel. Locally, loxoox is eaten for breakfast with Somali tea, or honey and goat ghee, or olive oil. Oftentimes , Somali breakfasters plop a small stack of loxoox on a plate and pour tea right on top of it. Usually cooked on a cast iron skillet with a thin veneer of vegetable oil rubbed across it using a folded piece of loxoox, the batter is drizzled onto the center of the pan and then pushed outwards in a circular motion with a spoon, spatula, or the bottom of a cup, creating a beautiful swirl.
I used this method instead of a recipe for biscuits, which is beginning to feel strikingly apt as a metaphor for life right now. No recipe. Barely following the rules. Outcome unknown. Fingers crossed for something edible.
In Hargeisa, fajr prayer happens around 4:30am each morning, which means that during the month of Ramadan most of the country rises even earlier to take suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before the day’s fast begins. For some, including myself, this is the most uncomfortable aspect of fasting: rising early to eat and drink, when your body is still half asleep, to sustain you for as many hours as possible thereafter. But I’ve tried to be a sport about it, and make sure I consume healthy proteins, and plenty of water, etc. I managed to organize myself enough in the evenings to take suhoor in my bedroom, including heating water in a tea kettle and storing warm foods in a metal tin. The above suhoor included dates, eggs and potatoes with flax seed, halwa, peanuts, sunflower seeds, butter cookies, turmeric tea, and a large bottle of water. The rhythm of Ramadan has finally – graciously – started to sink in after 7 days of fasting, and I’m able to sleep again after suhoor until it’s time to greet the day, …
For the pause café during an Ebola prevention training at the Centre Aoua Keita in Bamako: Instant Nescafé with hot milk and sugar; A beef pâté: ground beef inserted into a savory pastry dough; A slice of raisin gâteau, or breakfast cake. . . . *I like to think of these as pauses lait, since most Malians prepare their coffee with just a few granules of instant Nescafé dissolved into a full cup of hot milk, and plenty of sugar to help it go down smoothly!
Frou frou, or millet flour beignets, served here with a street-side morning dish of slow-roasted lamb in a green sauce with fried, sweet plantains. This satisfied a breakfast quartet, eaten by hand on the floor of a dusty boutique in Dialakoroba village, south of Bamako.