Well, the title is slightly misleading but this feast I was invited to in the desert in Doha last week was very close to Christmas and just as festive even if a lot more exotic than a Christmas meal. I had been to the same farm before but at a hotter time of the year and not for a full meal. This time the weather was just fabulous and the meal totally amazing.
Anissa: It has been quite a while since Charles Perry did a guest post here but following a discussion and various questions on twitter about fat tail, I thought I would turn to our chief historian of medieval Arab cookery and ask him to enlighten everyone! Here is what he sent me.
Charles: Europeans and Americans – and Australians, I’m sure – are always amazed when they see the huge tails of Middle Eastern sheep. One of the first to be amazed was Herodotus, who wrote in the 5th century BC that there was a breed in Asia Minor with a tail up to 18 inches wide and another with a tail four and a half feet long. The latter sort, he said, had to be supported by a little cart made for it by the shepherd.
I don’t order take away very often but when I do, I have two great options: delicious Vietnamese from Cay Tre or sensational Gujarati specialities from Mrs Patel, my lovely newsagent. And now I have a third option although it is very far from London, the woman in the picture above who sells her home-cooked food from a stall in souk al-Wakif in Doha. Her smartly presented selection includes balaleet, h’riss, ‘assida and mashbuss to name a few and she seems to be very popular amongst the locals as most of the people I have watched buying from her are Qataris like the lovely couple in the picture trying to make up their mind about what to get for their dinner.