I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about my foodie stories recently. You seem to enjoy my food themed misadventures. My favorite one is about the time I took my wife to New York City to try the original Halal Guys cart food straight from the street cart. Let’s just say, we won’t be doing that again any time soon.
Let’s go back to my childhood. It was a time when “ethnic” food was scoffed at. It was a time when the majority of society thought I was an outsider because I didn’t look like them, even though I was born in the same country as them. It was a time when they would make fun of me at school because my lunch didn’t look like theirs.
Instead of peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch, I would open my lunch bag to naan and kabob rolls. Actually, before I even opened my lunch bag, the smell gave it away.
Thankfully, times have changed and we don’t live a society like that anymore, right?
Anyway, as you may or may not know from my last Guru Story, my mom is old school. Nothing but traditional Indian and East African foods made from scratch for us. In those days she knew nothing of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
My brother was about to start High School and this posed a huge dilemma. How could he avoid being singled out in his new school if he had smelly kabobs stewing in his locker.
He needed a plan.
School started in fall. Mom prepared the meals early in the morning before leaving for work. They sat on the kitchen counter for us to take to school. For weeks my brother would go to school and return with no complaints about his lunch or being teased by the other kids.
Maybe the kids at his new school were accepting of diversity and embraced the rich heritage of worldwide cuisine. Maybe my brother had just accepted his fate and become more resilient at handling the cruel unjust comments of his peers.
My brother had come up with a foolproof plan.
Fall became winter and it got cold. It was time to turn on the heat in the house. There was no global warming back then. Only cold snow.
With the heater on, the entire house was warm. We watched through the window as the snow fell. We knew Dad would make us go out and shovel it. He always refused our request to get a snowblower. “Why get a snowblower when I have two sons to clear the driveway” he replied laughing at our stupidity.
As we prepared to do battle with the artic winds, we noticed the house began to fill with a rather distinctive smell. It was familiar but not. It smelled like Indian spices but also had a rather unfamiliar musty character to it. We all assumed it was my mom’s cooking as it was strongest in the kitchen. Days went on and the smell didn’t go away. In fact it got stronger, triggering my father into detective mode.
We followed him into the kitchen as we watched him move across the space guided by his nose as he sniffed the air.
He approached one of the floor heater vents in the corner and took in a hefty sniff. His face turned green as he turned away. Confused, I looked at my brother’s face which had become beet red as he watched.
Something was about to go down, I could feel it.
My father bent down over the vent and pulled off the cover. He looked down the vent shaft and his face immediately changed. It was a mix between anger and laughter.
He looked up at us. One of us was guilty. My instinct was telling me to run, but had no idea what for. But my brother stood there like an icicle, his face instantly gave him away.
Thank God. It wasn’t me…this time.
My dad motioned for him to come forward and look down the vent.
There it was.
His plan had come undone right before his eyes. There, in the vent was a pile of old, moldy kabobs. For weeks he had been removing the kabobs from his lunch bag and slipping them down the vent before he left for school.
My dad looked at me. I knew to leave the room immediately. Fire and fury was about to be unleashed in the house and I didn’t want to be collateral damage.
Later that evening, my brother entered our bedroom. I was glad he was alive. I asked him why he didn’t just throw them in the garbage.
“Mom would have seen them,” he replied calmly “plus it’s haram to throw food away.”
Okay, fair enough.
“What about just throwing them in the bushes on the way to school?” I asked.
He looked at me and immediately fell backwards on to his bed with his palm over his face as he sighed loudly.
“Why didn’t I think of that!”
Enjoyed the story, be sure to comment below and share with your siblings and friends. Don’t forget to check out the rest of my blog where I provide in-depth reviews of Halal restaurants across Florida so you know what to expect when you visit the Sunshine State. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram to see my latest foodie adventure.