By Amir Bagheri
“To eat is to live, but to taste is to evolve.”
– Ayako Suwa
My grandma, Maamaan Badri, would wake up before everybody else. She would never miss the morning prayer. You could see that this was something she had been doing for decades.
After the prayer, you’d find her in the kitchen, starting the tea brewing process. I am not talking about pouring boiled water over a teabag. No. It was a ritualistic process; one that involved boiling water and using its steam to then brew black tea leaves. A lengthy process that would take thirty to forty minutes. Throughout this process, she would softly repeat her daily Zikr (Islamic devotional acts, in which phrases or prayers are repeated), expressing her gratitude for yet another morning.
In the midst of it all, you’d see my grandpa, Baabaa Majid, make his way to the local Naan (bread) bakery. After a couple of minutes, he would return with freshly baked Naans.
In my grandpa’s home (which is our ancestral home for over five generations), the smell of freshly baked Naan is the real clock alarm. Its delicious scent would wake everyone up; the call for a family gathering awaited…
Other than Maamaan Badri and Baabaa Majid, everyone else would be half-awake, waiting to be served; not in an entitled way, no. My grandparents preferred it this way. They would never miss an opportunity to share and express their love; not only to us as their grandchildren, but to everyone that came into their lives and home. They both believed in serving, without any expectations in return. And they served every day. They Served with kindness.
I lost Maamaan Badri on a Tuesday afternoon, on the 15th of September 2020. It was a painful loss for the family, considering we were oceans away from her. Us being in South Africa and she being in Iran.
but not a river,
I still floated.
I am still floating.
And we are
in my prayers,
Maamaan Badri has never been this alive in my life. I feel her within me. I hear her words echo in my ears on a daily basis. I feel her presence in my home by indulging in scents and tastes that I try to (re)create through the recipes I had learnt, by observing her in the kitchen.
I had always acknowledged that there was more to food than just eating. I now know that food is culture, art, family, community and friendship; a language of its own.
Food is love.
You planted the seed of goodness in me.
I have no choice,
But to flower,
And for all those
Dear Odd ones,
This issue is all about celebrating food, and all the blessings it comes with.
As we were compiling this issue, Shameelah suggested that, for this issue, we should go beyond just the publication and set out an intention to serve [food] to those in need.
We, therefore, call on you to join us in our efforts to raise funds for one of the most beloved South African organisations, Gift of the Givers, who have been backing the global fight against hunger.
Their aim is to contribute tellingly in the quest to save the lives of the starving and malnourished.
From serving a warm plate of food to a child in desperate need to providing vital feed for cattle suffering as a result of drought to distributing vital supplies to families living in war zones and feeding people displaced by natural disasters, Gift of the Givers work tirelessly to ensure those in need are freed from hunger.
In our efforts, we aim to raise R10 000 for Gift of the Givers’ Hunger Alleviation initiative. As Odd Magazine we pledge to donate R5 000 to start us off. We truly hope that, with your kindness and help, we can meet our goal.
Click here, should you wish to make a donation to this cause.
In this issue:
Reflections on Food – Aziza Azura
The Picky Eater – Xia Isaacs
Five restaurants to eat at if you are in Johannesburg – Cleola Eayrs
Odd Artist of The Month: Nontokozo Dladla
Between my first meal and my last – Ibtisaam Ahmed
Cut and Dried – Sonakshi Srivastava
Aunty’s Chippy – Sadie Maskery
Peggy’s Brack – Anne McDonald
Coffee Break – Bernard Pearson
Cape Town Beans – Shameelah Khan
15 Films About Food To See – Shameelah Khan
Mixtape: Odd Dinner Party – Amir Bagheri
Boeber Mix – Ayesha Mukadam
A Cup of Tea – Azzam Maqdissi
Food Porn – Logan Hing
What eats metal – Sulola Imran Abiola
Ceremonial Khowse and Mushrooms in the Sky – Tasneem Jhetam