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What Top Chefs Are Cooking And Eating For Ramadan
No one truly knows when Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, commences until the evening before. When I began fasting in my early teens living in Karachi, Pakistan, I remember the anticipation that accompanied the sighting of a new moon that heralded the month’s beginning. For 30 consecutive days as the sun set beneath the skyline, my multi-generational family would gather around the dining table that was heaving with platters of nourishing food and recount the day’s activities, share jokes, and invariably talk about what we would be eating for Suhoor/Sehri (the pre-dawn meal) a few hours later. For me, the beauty of Ramadan was embodied in the contrast between the tenacity and austerity of the day’s fast and the fortifying wholesomeness of a communal iftar, which ends a long stretch of hunger and abstinence. Food is undoubtedly central to the observance of Ramadan. But the essence of the month goes beyond the ritual of fasting – it truly lies in the spirit of sharing, giving and strengthening bonds. How Muslim communities observe Ramadan varies by geography, ethnicity and adaptability to local realities. I spoke to three chefs across the globe, for whom the month of Ramadan assumes special significance exploring how their relationship with food and a focus on community manifests during the month.