I have been working on provisioning the boat lately. For you landlubbers, "provisioning" and "stockpiling" are the same thing. But provisioning is generally tougher than land stockpiling, because everything gets wet and alternately hot and cold, and thrown around a lot, and weight's a consideration. So there are challenges.
Because of these challenges, I've been tending more towards dried foods, like beans, and then looking at multiple-use things... for example, what kinds of recipes include beans for breakfast? Thus, I found this spiffy little site, Mr. Breakfast. I love Mr. Breakfast. I don't even eat dairy or gluten, so a lot of the stuff on the site is unusable to me, but I was utterly charmed by his entry, "Breakfast in Iraq".
If you'd ever like to make these Iraqi dishes for a friend, you may want to tell that friend about a great Iraqi custom: It is not fit to return a neighbor's dish empty. From sharing breakfast from communal trays to making sure no good breakfast deed goes unrewarded, the tradition of breakfast in Iraq should show us that most Iraqis are decent people.
The Iraqi people may not like us too much sometimes. They may see American men as gluttons and American women as sluts. But you know what? When I'm in a bad mood, sometimes I see the world that way too. A lot of Westerners generalize the Iraqi people as the enemy. That's what you do when you're dragged into war. But we have to remember that in the end, we're all just people... we all go to sleep at night and we all get up in the morning. And through it all, when we wake, the first thing our bodies crave is not democracy, religious solidarity, or blood... it's breakfast... one meal... one important way that we might find that it's better to learn about cultures and possibly even respect them, before we blindly consider them weird or immoral and denounce them. May breakfast bring our nations closer together as it does our families. Amen. (The same closing for both Christian and Muslim prayer, although in Iraq it is often spelled "Aameen" and spoken with rolling gargle sound after the first syllable.)
Can I just say, the approach to peace entrances me? I've already written a lot about how my family tends to associate food and learning about different cultures. I honestly hadn't connected food to peace in quite this way, despite a professor I had in grad school, who insisted that we bring food to class, because "you must put down your weapons to pick up your food."
I think about the typical rushed schooling family's breakfast; whatever can be grabbed while careening out the door. That tends to be our culture's approach to a lot of larger issues that are just too overwhelming to contemplate. It had never occurred to me, as Mr. Breakfast suggests, that breakfast is itself a learning opportunity. But I like it a whole lot. The idea that the meal we begin a day with might bring us closer to understanding people, and might be the perfect touchpoint, appeals greatly.
Bring on the bigilla.
Laureen is a writer, a professional editor, a scuba instructor, a beginning sailor, a traveler, and an obsessive researcher who's chiefly focused on, and delighted with, her husband Jason, her sons Rowan and Kestrel, and her daughter Aurora. She's a lifelong Californian, which lends a very distinctive spin to both her ideas and her politics, and she's discovered, in her peregrinations, that the world is far smaller yet far more fascinating than anyone gives it credit for being. She holds forth her opinions on that in her blog, The ElementalMom.