Thursday, October 11, 2007

Klecha w Hawayej w Habbat Soda..

A very good friend of mine, who is still in Bghadad sent me a text msg this morning.. she said : im making Klecha, and I remembered what great Klecha you used to make..
Actually, she meant my mom.. mom was really good at making things.. everything.. cooking special dishes, setting special dinners, sewing elegant costumes (right out of el Burda – the famous magazine back at Baghdad) .. making great Klecha was one of many many talents..
The day of Klecha was a special day.. though I now remember it with nostalgia, I used to see it as a day of work, work and more work back then in Baghdadna,..
Of course, she would announce the Day of Klecha about a week earlier, as we approach the last week of Ramadan, or the last week before Eid el Adha, and though we all looked forward to taste the delicious specialty of Happy events, we (me and my sisters) all had on our minds the loooong hours of working in the hot kitchen, checking the oven and checking on the Sewanee, I don’t know why I cant forget the stifling heat of the kitchen..
On Klecha day, my mom would be up early (as always), we come down from our rooms to find her already into the Ajeen our kitchen cupboards were a bit high, she would be sitting on her knees with a very Large Nejana in front of her (the size of the nejana always helped us predict how many hours we were supposed to stay in the kitchen that day, the bigger the longer !! I always loved to do the Ajeen process, I loved the smell of the dough , but of course she would never let me do that as she used to say my hands are too small and weak to do things right.. we were to sit in the kitchen (no one to go upstairs, we should wait for her politely) till she finished, then she would start giving each one of us the assignment required ( A, take out the Joz, the Festiq and the sugar, pour them into the bowl, I will be with u to make the Hashwa) , (M, take out the Sewanee Fafon and pour some oil into them), (Y, get the Shebak and please put an apron on) .. I always hated these small parts.. but she was the leader and no one dared but to obey the orders.. then we would stand next to each other in front of the looong pale green deeelab, and start making the shapes of each kind, Klechat el Tamor, we used to make it like a swiss roll , and then stamp it with the oold wooden Qalab of mom, something old from her hometown (Mosul), to print a design of flowers on each Klechaya, Klechat el Joz was like half a circle, and the endsd we used to Nothforha in a beautiful design that also mom taught us.. and finally decorated with the flowers stamp, as for Klechat Sada (that was my favorite, she would add Hawayej to it or sometimes Habbat Soda, to give it more taste.. after standing for hours working on the endless small pieces of Klecha, the small pieces of dough we then were allowed to shape as we pleased, we had plastc Qawalib in the shape of rabbits, kittens and Katakeet, kept from days of childhood, I would then laughingly use them, just for fun..
The heat in the kitchen then would be incredible, we would be exhausted and bored and complaining about why should we make all this endless quantities of Klecha? We would only eat little of it, why not buy Jahza men el Sough etc.. but our complaints never mom would answer them with a reprimanding look, mom always had to make Klecha herself , the quantity always had to be large.. and the Balamat had to be FULL.. Our Khottar always praised mom for the great taste of her Klecha..she took great pride in her Klecha but she would reply nonchalntly with a her beautiful smile : Oooh, Aadee.. just the same as ev year.. we in Mosul always made it like this ..
Its strange, mom now never makes Klecha.. the Eid feels different..its not about missing Klecha, its about missing a whole era.. another time , another life.. mom now Does buy Jahez men el Sough.. any kind of cake or pastry would do.. to serve when Khottar visit (if any ever shows up) ..i myself never was interested in making Klecha.. but its just a reminder of Eid in Baghdad.. a Must..
But Klecha in Baghdad is till made, as my friend 's text tells.. perhaps I should take this a s a sign , maybe one day the good days Will return, and I Would make Klecha in Bghadad..
just for the sake of Eid, lets be optimistic for once..
Ayyamkom Saeeda..