Friday, January 7
Baking Day with Baba
My father is known to my children as Baba...it means 'Dad' in the arabic dialect of Tunisia. My Tunisian dad and my American mom met in the Peace Corps. Theirs is a very romantic story that involves madcap, cross-country adventures aboard a Vespa scooter.
I spent a chunk of my childhood growing up, going to school, and thriving as part of a big family in Tunisia. My memories of those years are like a picture-book fantasy. Sun at the seashore, French and Arabic all around, playing in the olive orchards, pomegranate and fig trees in the garden, walking to school with comrades, smocks and school satchels and schoolyard games in the dirt, evenings on the rooftop, jasmine and climbing roses, playing in the graveyard next door, prickly pears and camels, open air markets and the souk, all the Roman ruins....I could go on and on and on. It was a heavenly environment in which to grow up. It is a dream of mine to be able to whisk my family of 6 overseas to to experience some of this...my children have never been.
And yet, because they have Baba, there are things about this heritage that they know even better than I. Like how to bake these awesome cookies.
There is not alot of talking as they all work...maybe some robust Arabic singing from Baba....but not much chatter. After years of making these cookies together they all know what to do. A well-oiled machine. I can only sit and watch, with a full heart, while my father helps my girls build warm and beautiful memories...the same way he helped me build mine.
And of course, enjoy the fruits of their labor :)