Food is Where The Heart Is
Sanya Khan, Honorable Mention
My family is a melting pot; some of us tall, some of us short, some of young, some of us old. From United States to India to Australia and beyond my family is different in ways you can’t imagine. Despite all our differences we all come together to eat. Some say home is where the heart is… Not for our family. For my family it is more like food is where the heart is.
When I get home Ammo would be cooking her special Nihãri. The unique smell floating through the house. Back at school everybody’s favorite food would probably be bacon or ham and cheese… my favorite food is Nihari. The food deeply rooted back in India. The food whose every spoonful makes me want to jump with sensation. Tomorrow the food packed in my lunch box will be different than everyone else’s, but I am not shy about it. The Nihãri reminds me of my family, of my home country, of who I am.
Not only does food remind me of my family, it reminds me of my religion. Food is the reason I say Bismiallah before I eat, and why I say Alhumdulillah when I finish. Food is the reason I fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan and the reason I can’t eat pork or drink alcohol. Food is the reason I eat Iftar at sunset during summer. Food is the reason I celebrate Eid, food makes me a Muslim.
Every time time I eat Nihãri, every time I dig into kabob, it feels like I am tasting India. The first sip I taste the rich culture, the traditions and beliefs. With the second sip I taste the variety of languages. Every time I eat Indian food it reminds of where I come from and what my heritage is.
Sometimes people may make a hurtful remark or I had a bad day at school. When I come home I can enjoy another wonderful meal with my family and let the day melt away like the “daal” we have for dinner. During Ramadan we are supposed to fast. No food from 4:00 am until 8:30 pm. During that time I look forward to breaking my fast with my friends and family. During that time I thank god for making food a part of my life.