The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Jan 7, 2011

Maghrebi in Rome

In Amara Lakhous's lovely little novella Clash of Civilisations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, one of the characters, desperately lonely and missing his family back in the Maghreb, recalls the wondrous cuisine of his homeland and wails:
It's sad spending Ramadan far from Bagia! What's the point of giving up eating and drinking, only to eat alone? Where is the voice of the muezzin? Where is the buraq? Where is the couscous that Mama prepared with her own hands? Where is the qalb alluz? Where is the zlabia? Where is the harira? Where is the maqrout? How can I forget the nights of Ramadan in the neighbourhood, and coming home late? Mama's voice full of tenderness, the love that charmed my ears: "My son, it's time for the suhur." The month of Ramadan, the Little Feast, the Big Feast, and the other feasts fill my heart with anxiety. People say: "Why don't you go to the big mosque in Rome for the prayers for the Big Feast?" No, thank you. I don't want to see hundreds of needy people like me, needy for the odour of their loved ones.


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