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« October 16, 2005 - October 22, 2005 | Main | October 30, 2005 - November 5, 2005 »

October 23, 2005 - October 29, 2005

October 27, 2005

Ramadan in Istanbul by Bob Beer

Ramadan in Istanbul My first visit to Istanbul in 1982 coincided with Ramadan; but apart from the lines of people in front of restaurants waiting for the appointed hour to break their fasts, I can’t say it really affected me much. The country was still under martial law with curfew in effect, putting a damper on evening activities past 12:00. I didn’t know many Turks, and most of those I’d met were of a non-orthodox sect of Islam that generally do not fast; but even that was not openly discussed during those repressive times. Only one of my new group of friends was niyetli, or "with intent," as one who is fasting says of himself, and was getting some ribbing from the others. "Papaz" they said, pointing to him and laughing. "Priest." He took their joking good-naturedly. I do remember being impressed by timetables on the evening news giving the exact time to the minute for iftar, the breaking of the fast for all the major cities of Turkey. And perhaps there was more food being sold on the street than normal, but "normal" was still so much! It seemed then that almost as many people were not fasting as were. Now, having lived here for nearly six years, I’m amazed that I could have been so oblivious to Ramadan, or Ramazan as it as known here. The fast held during Ramaz is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. Whether you are Muslim or not, it’s a special time; life takes on a different rhythm. The observant try to focus on more spiritual things during the month, and many who consider themselves rather lax Muslims try to be a little better. The particulars vary across the Muslim world, but in Turkey, a typical day during Ramazan goes like this: an hour and a half before sunrise, people are woken up by the Ramazan davulcusu, or Ramadan drummers, who walk around the neighborhoods with a big double-headed drum. They beat out a variety of rhythms, and in between rounds, they may also sing a mani, a rhyming couplet. A couple of common ones are:


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October 26, 2005

Fall Dinners at Chez Panisse

Dear Friends,                  

Alice thought you might be interested in two special dinners that we will be hosting at Chez Panisse.


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October 23, 2005

Hidangan Berbuka Puasa di Rebung Chef Ismail by Choo Teck Poh

Hidangan Berbuka Puasa di Rebung

Chef Ismail (Breaking Fast Spread at Chef Ismail's Rebung

-  Malay Cuisine at its Best  -



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