Saturday, April 27, 2013


I'm back  to my baking self.
I'm going to try to bake myself into a cooking self. Or bake a new self and keep the old one just in case life, in a general way, doesn't work out for me.

But first, I'm tinkering with egg/dairy/nut free recipes for my nephew, who has been plagued with all the allergies in the family. We often put effort into making him think he is eating the same thing as his brother and sister, strategically giving them tall, opaque cups so he can't see what's inside, or preparing foods that are the same shade of orange. Today, while his siblings were dipping warm chocolate chip cookies in fresh milk, he sat with them, pretty sure he was eating the same thing but still somewhat suspicious, taking bites of barley bread dipped in water. 

I was searching for a vegan snickerdoodle recipe in the hopes of cutting down on some of my trickery, and found the recipe collection of a girl who named her website something like the verbal equivalent of her haircut. As her picture loads alongside the list of various forms of deliciousness that go into a snickerdoodle, we find her wearing an apron and with big black framed glasses.

Well, yeah, Su. Of course that's what you look like. 

Then my niece beside me asked, 
-Shifu Khala- is that your picture? Why is your picture on there?"

Get off my case, kid! Can't you see I'm a new woman?!

-That's not me. Why would there be a picture of me on the internet?

Note to baking self- for real this time, get all pictures of former self off the internet. 
Or at least run them through the photo editor "hardened woman" filter, then "soften edges," then "softer."

Monday, April 22, 2013


In my fifth (and Ya Allah hopefully my final!) trip to the tile store where I get to be a little black cloud shooting videos of different shades of wood, an Arab woman approached me. She immediately spoke English because she probably heard me narrating the descriptions of textures and colors of the wood into the camera.

She got right to the point.
Excuse me, do you have a sister here in Jordan?
Since I do, in fact, have a sister in Jordan I assumed she must know her and started to describe her.

But then she kept going.
Is she married? 
Do you have any unmarried sisters? 

Since I do, in fact, have an unmarried sister, I started to describe her too.

Does she look like you?

A curious thing to say to a girl who is 96% shrouded in layers of black. 

But this woman was not interested in me, but a girl who resembled the 4% of me that was showing. As if to say- almost, but not quite. I don't wear a ring, but she assumed I was a claimed woman. Maybe my eyes "look married." Or maybe she wanted a girl whose hands looked only kind of like mine.

Although I recognized this as an opportunity for adventure and ridiculous conversation, I shut her down with a simple no because she spoke perfect English (YAWN). I know not every encounter has to be an Arabic lesson, but I need to focus on finding situations where I can practice saying the important things:

How much are the apples?

My ____ is broken and I don't know how to fix it.

Do you have this in black?