Food and Drink


There is a recent documentary on the Zabbalin garbage collectors of Cairo, produced by RT.

If you are strict about halal foods or kosher foods, pork is probably not on your normal grocery shopping list. But there is something about the taste of bacon at breakfast that can be very enticing. Now, thanks to science and the long experience of folk in Iceland, there is a halal form of bacon. Well, actually it has nothing to do with swine but rather is a product of seaweed that is said to taste remarkably like bacon. So if you want to avoid haram but see no harm in enjoying the taste of bacon, stock up on seaweed.

by Kathryn Zyskowski, Cultural Anthropology

Click here to read the five articles and interviews with the authors.

This collection gathers together five articles previously published in Cultural Anthropology, by Naveeda Khan, Hayder Al-Mohammad, Carolyn Rouse and Janet Hoskins, Kenneth George, and Arzoo Osanloo. The collection also includes interviews with the authors, who reflect on their work, as well a commentary on the whole collection from Charles Hirschkind. The articles engage with everyday aspects of living, negotiating, and constructing the world among contemporary Muslims. Moving beyond a focus on the aesthetics of dress, gender relations, or the text in Islam, the collection crosses national boundaries and thematic areas, touching on the immense diversity of nations, peoples, languages, and ideas that fall under the category of Islam. A broad array of ethnographic material is included in the collection: gathering to eat soul food in Los Angeles, navigating a kidnapping in post-invasion Iraq, a child’s relationship to a jinn (spirit/ghost) during sectarian violence in Karachi, discourses around justice in media and conversation surrounding a young man’s death sentence in Iran, and debates about the production of Islamic art in Indonesia.

There are many beautiful cities in the world, but Istanbul is near the top. Check out this online album of photographs.

Jive talking about humus… a fun video on Youtube.

The following commentary is about the famous Arabic language cookbook of Naziha Adibe, published half a century ago in Baghdad and known throughout the Arab world.

Russell Khan, Sulman Afridi, and Khalid Latif (left to right) at New York City’s Honest Chops, the country’s first halal whole animal butchery.

by NEW YORK (CNNMoney), May 30

Thick T-bone steaks and richly marbled oxtails decorate the display case at Honest Chops, a new whole animal halal butchery in downtown Manhattan.

Not only is the shop committed to selling humanely raised meat, it’s all slaughtered in the Islamic tradition, which involves a prayer and quick death using a sharp knife.

Khalid Latif, who founded the butchery in March, spoke to Muslim students and working professionals in his community who wanted a higher quality of meat than their neighborhood markets offered.

Initially, he and his partners Anas Hassan and Bassam Tariq were just interested in opening a halal butchery. But after learning about the unnatural feed that commercial cattle and chickens are raised on, they opted to source their meat from small producers in upstate New York, Maryland and Massachusetts.

“When there’s not a certain kind of purity to the food that we’re consuming, that becomes problematic from the spiritual standpoint,” said Latif, who has rigorous standards for the meat he sources. (more…)

Russell Brand on The Sun

The British tabloid, The Sun, which once showed Saddam Hussein in his underwear on its cover, has now taken on the chain Pizza Express for serving halal chicken. The humor of Monty Python lives on in the Fleet Street media. The apparent argument of the article is that slitting the throat of a chicken while it is still alive is cruel punishment. I suspect that the writers of The Sun have a dark motive rather than calling for a campaign to have chickens slaughtered with dignity after being stun gunned. If such a contrived story merits more attention than the ongoing slaughter of humans in many parts of the world, then they seem to be taking a cue from “Fowlty” Towers. I suspect that The Sun does not have an equal disdain of the common practice of raising poultry in such close quarters that they basically eat their own excrement, although excrement is surely an apt topic for this tabloid.

The Sun finds Islam to be a convenient target, failing to have equal animosity to Jewish kosher law, which mandates the same style of slaughter only with a different prayer. And the slitting of the throat is actually said to be a humane way of ending the life of an animal bred to be eaten. True to its name, this halal henpicking is tabloid nonsense, void of any semblance of rationality. Most people no doubt see such a story as funny, but there are enough people out there to use this kind of silly blather to reinforce their own hate of Muslims (and Jews, of course). And then there are those who respond with humor, as does the British comedian Russell Brand on Youtube. So perhaps we need to tell yet another version of the old joke: Why did the chicken cross the road? Just for the halal of it…

Next Page »