Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Chicken Afraid-of

Hubby to assembled family at lunch yesterday: "From now on no more eating at the restaurant. We are only going to eat at home." Stares of surprise greeted this unexpected announcement. You see, we own the restaurant and usually eat there twice a day.

ME: "But, Sweetie, You were the one who insisted that we eat only from the restaurant. You said you didn't want the expense or bother of keeping two kitchens supplied. Besides, we're quality control. We give you important feedback about the quality and taste of the food."

Hubby: We've grown lazy. We need to start doing our own cooking again."
End of discussion, the MAN had spoken.

The girls were supposed to have company later that day, but were napping since they had jet lag/nocturnalitis. So I tried the two things I always do when faced with company. 1) Boil chicken 2) try to bake. The oven wasn't working so I couldn't bake. The chicken was boiled and forgotten since the girls woke from their naps and cancelled the girlie luncheon. Later I realized I was responsible for dinner. I remembered the chicken. I picked it off the bone and asked the family which they wanted chicken sandwich spread or pasta chicken salad. "Neither," was the reply. Pot pie and casserole were mentioned, but ingredients were lacking. "How'bout I cook 'chicken fwrikazee' and we invite Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd?"

Undaunted, I swung into option 3- chicken soup. I didn't have a plan, but thought of something creamy with milk and cheese and pasta. I threw it all into the pot of broth, added some spices and ta-da soup. (or something souplike but very chunky and thick) I went down stairs to announce dinner to the family. While I was trying to explain what I was serving when the phone rang. It was the restaurant manager calling Siraj. He talked a few minutes in Urdu, hung up and announced with a completely straight face, "Liaqat (the manager) has invited us to dinner at the restaurant. Everyone get ready, we leave in 5 minutes."

I sat there with a confused look on my face, "Our own manager is inviting us to dinner at our own restaurant? That's strange!"

Owl, who was thinking quicker, announced, "That's just Dad's way of saying he doesn't want to eat your chicken soupish thing." I was shocked, but realized she was completely right. Here sat the same man who just a few hours ago announced "no more eating at the restaurant" with a sheepish grin on his face.

We went out for dinner. Siraj had overly salted keema, it took all three of us ladies to convince him of that, and the girls had chicken burgers to which the staff had added ginger. So there. And BTW, I renamed the soupish thing Chicken Alfredo and it was delicious!!!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Home again, Home again, jiggity jig

The hubby and I have just returned from 10 days in UAE. It was our first time ever and first impressions:

Damn, it's not only hot as hell, but it's humid too!!!

It looks like a cleaned up and jazzed up version of Islamabad with western cars and a few Arabs thrown in for decoration.

Everybody speaks Urdu here!

We were able to see Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Al Ain. We were very amused by the date trees lining the roads in Abu Dahabi. Like the tourists we were, we had to stop and eat some and take a photo. They were delicious. It's quite funny to see baby trees barely 3 feet tall with dates touching the ground.

Dubai wins the prize for best landscaping of all the cities we saw.

Are we still considering relocation? We haven't decided yet. The idea of doing business with a total stranger (the required Arab sponsor) seems like a very risky situation. It seems to me that there are a lot of unprofitable businesses and the real business is selling visas. If we can figure out a way to get settled over there and then take our time to scout out the perfect business location and proper partner, then relocation wouldn't seem so risky.

We followed our UAE trip with and unexpected layover in Karachi. There we were able to meet the girlies on their way home. I always love arriving in Karachi. We always come in the cool of the night and there's always a wonderful, heady aroma that hits you once you step out of the plane. My first sight after claiming luggage and leaving the terminal was an elderly grandfather putting rose garlands on his arriving granddaughters. The scent of rose and jasmine hung about the area as he and many others garlanded their loved ones.

I haven't been to Karachi in 2 years. We had perfect weather, cool, and cloudy with occasional sprinkles. Hubby and I went for a one hour rickshaw ride tour of the city. I had to beg him for this as he thought it was silly, but I had a great time. There's something about Karachi you can only capture from the back of a rickshaw: diesel fumes, the crush of traffic, the scent of the hoi-polloi. I had several plates of Karachi haleem, which I believe is the world's greatest cure all. Abez swears by it for a cure for the common cold, but I find it even cures the dreaded "D". I think it kills all existing bacteria in your body.

It's always good to be home. The workers have nearly finished the repairs to the back yard. It was weird to look out and see a huge back loader shoveling dirt in over the wall. One never knows when heavy equipment will come calling here.

Anyway, here we are back in Isloo half-way between the chaos of Karachi and the clean of UAE, but it's home.