I wrote this Meatless Monday post earlier this year after the Pulse shootings in Orlando. Since then, there have been more gun deaths and bombings than I care to count. Today, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I call upon us all to start sweet, start fresh, start again and start together. Originally posted on 06/27/2016 for Huffington Post.
Meatless Monday: Family Meal
My husband and I live down the block from Muslims. And gays. We have Jamaicans, Swiss, Colombians, Cuban refugees, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and a few undecided. As my neighbor puts it, we’re the United Nations in one city block. Sometimes we all mystify each other. But we always tolerate each other. As another neighbor says, we are like family.
The people gunned down at Pulse in Orlando were like family, too. How do you parse — let alone process — such a devastating thing? It’s a gun control issue. It’s an LGBTQ issue. It’s a terrorism issue. It’s a hate issue. It is as many things as we are. This is not the first time a mass killing has happened during Ramadan. I pray it is the last.
We’re all very different, not just on my block and in this city, but in your city, on your street and across this country and in every country — you, too, UK. I’ve always been more interested in the ways we are the same.
Maybe my Muslim neighbor is, too. He came by yesterday and gave me some mangoes off his tree. This is not about him trying to make right the horror of Pulse, this was a pure act of reaching out, of trying to bridge our differences. It’s about sharing what we have — food — and honoring what we have in common — humanity. (Here is my favorite Mango Salad Recipe)
As diverse as we all are, we are all citizens of the world. We live together. And since we do, it helps to do so with compassion (a big vegan concept) and forgiveness (a big Muslim concept).
Together, we are family. Together, we are stronger than walls, stronger than guns, stronger than hate. Wherever you are, whatever your beliefs, I wish you Ramadan Mubarak — blessed Ramadan.
There are many versions of this traditional and beloved Arab dessert, and it goes by many names — sutlac, muhallabeya, and I’m probably missing some. I developed this vegan version and served it this Saturday night as part of my EatWith dinner. I owe a debt of gratitude to Claudia Roden , a gifted, generous cookbook author. Her dedication to preserving the unique flavors of the world inspires me in delicious ways.