I have barely recovered from a cold as I am briskly walking with a slight wheeze in my chest and my nose still clogged. Nonetheless, I feel alive and vibrant as I make it from the subway station down the road that leads to the home of my good friends. My duffle bag is filled with delicious red apples, I am wearing my favorite olive green and deep blue cardigan, and I decide to wrap my head in a lime green turban. Does this not sound like an adventure already? It is early Sunday morning and my friends and I are going to bake an Apple Brie Pie.
So, funny story. I did not grow up baking. Baking was not a thing we did in my family. Not my parents. Not my grandparents. I do not have stories of walking into a home that smells like freshly baked bread, freshly baked cookies, or mom’s apple pie. Nope. I do not. I grew up in a house that more often smelled of puttering tomato sauce a la dad, frying garlic and onion, roasted chicken, grilled steak etc. Baking, is simply a tradition, that is not mine- but that I love and would like to make my own.
A tradition that my friends that I am visiting and I do share, however, is that we all belong to the Islamic faith. Being born and raised in Europe, Islam is very much like baking to me. It is like the smell of bread, it feels like home, and yet it is a faith that I am first trying to make into my own tradition rather than a religion. A dough that you bake, that you set aside, let rise, then shape again, then let rise again, then place in a hot oven, and then finally bring out to serve.
As we bake pie we discuss many things from whether or not we believe Joseph to have been good looking, whether Moses really did split the sea with his staff, or did Muhammed (pbuh) travel to God riding a bewinged animal- to what it means to navigate modern times as a person of faith. As inherent a tradition may be, there are still many unexplored rooms within that tradition. Just like baking. It is unexplored for me and yet I know that there is ample room for me to shape and kneed it into something that is just mine. God speaks to me through the kitchen and all the dishes that I try to create, if they end up tasting good- then those are my miracles and my revelations. So now, lets have some pie.