Thursday’s Thought

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.

-Henry Ford


Are You REALLY Kind???

Dear Human,

Today I’m writing as I reflect on kindness. Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you hands-699486_1920meet is fighting a hard battle.” Although there is a lot of pain and suffering throughout the world, there are still people who are responding to others in kindness. The reasons behind the kindness is what is often masked, even if a purpose is spoken verbally – there may be a deeper cause. Where does your kindness lie? Where do the roots of the action come from?

A woman working in an organization where people’s lives can be completely changed through their interaction with her. She created this role and through it, she has developed so much potential. But where did the kindness come from? From her natural intuition that allows her to put into action what others have only dreamt of? Or from her selfish desire to gain a decent salary, without producing much labor?

A man volunteering to provide community supports to a refugee family. He has the power to be a link for the family that helps them to become successful in their new environment. He serves as an example to others. But where did the kindness come from? From his heart that wants to shine God’s love for all people to see? Or does an interest in conversion override his desire to build a genuine friendship?

The family member who always gives the biggest birthday gift. Money is not a factor as this loved one buys the greatest present of the year. But where did the kindness come from? From the wish to show love through gifting? Or to be able to compare gift-for-gift, sizing love by a wrapped package? kindness-710209_1280

Acts of kindness can be felt deeper than words can sometimes take us. There is a power that emerges in one’s soul when someone simply does a kind act just to help another person. No hidden agenda, no secret reason; just to show kindness. So Human, the next time you are about to do something nice for someone, check the root of the behavior. Is it because you truly want to build up another person, or is it because you are looking to make yourself feel better inside? Yes, one amazing aspect of being kind towards someone else is that it can also positively affect you; however, the reason behind the action should be that you want goodness for the other person, even if you gain absolutely nothing from the experience. If we seek to truly help others and brighten their day holiness-1207699_1920without any expectation of self-gratification, then you too will reap the benefit because deep inside that person you helped knows you were genuine and it will leave an impact on them throughout the rest of their years.



Your Inner Voice

Ahmeli… that our kindness will come from love.

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Kleicha? Yes, please!

The other day I entered a home and was informed that I would be making kleicha (sometimes a similar version is called ma’amoul). Now first of all, I had no clue we were baking. Second, I don’t even know how to pronounce kleicha, let alone make it! And so I replied, “Okay, let me wash my hands.” Then the kleicha experience began…. If you never heard of kleicha, this is when you will be hearing what it is. If you never baked with someone from the Middle East, you are about to learn how that goes as well.

Kleicha (pronounced clay cha) – a type of biscuit, or cookie, that comes in an assortment of shapes and can be filled with several different fillings; common ingredients include cardamom, rose water and dates; most often served on Eid

  • Step One – Dough: To begin making kleicha, mix the ingredients that will end up becoming your dough. Now, this process was started before I arrived, so I’m providing a similar recipe here, in case anyone is brave enough to make some. When I discovered I’d be making kleicha (which I continuously repeated inside my head, attempting to pronounce my creation correctly), this is what was already on the table: img_20160910_172641747_hdrHere we have the dough, date paste (silver bowl) and ground walnuts (small white bowl). My instructions, “Get this ready.” Translation, “Pull off sections of the dough, roll it until it is very thin, a little thicker than paper.”
  • Step Two Shape Biscuits: We then used a variety of kitchen tools from the ever so useful cup (perfect circle cutter) to some contraption that I do not know its name (if you do, please state it in the comments section; if you don’t, still leave a comment J ). Here is what this step looked like: img_20160910_174117757I enjoyed this step because you can become so creative with the shapes you form. You can put the date paste on the dough like sauce on a pizza (just work with me here folks) and then put another layer of dough on top. Next, you cut strips and then twist them like a party streamer (again…just go with it). Finally, you can loop them into circles, or hearts, like we did here: img_20160910_174106359You can use the nameless thingy and form the common balls and ovals, or you can stretch your imagination (or a friendly YouTube video) and make anything you desire. We used the specialty tool to shape the walnut biscuits. The instructions were, “Put it in your hand and put in the nuts. Then you make ball and put it in here (tool). Then go like this (banging tool against table) and there.” Translation, I put a circle of dough in my hand (thus the lack of a picture), spooned about 1 teaspoon of the ground nuts in the center, bring the sides of the dough up and pinch together at the top to make a ball. Then you press this into that tool until it is firmly inside (or you will get a puzzled look when your biscuits have no fancy design on top) and then turn it upside-down and tap the edge on the table until the dough falls out.
  • Step Three – Bake the Biscuits: After traying up the biscuits, it was time to bake them. I was told, “Turn on the oven.” Reply, “To how many degrees?” Response, “Just turn it on.” Translation, “Oven on means we are cooking. Oven off means not cooking. Degrees are irrelevant.” Check out this picture and find what interesting shapes/objects/creatures you can see (add it in the comments section): img_20160910_184834363_hdrAfter they had been baking for a few minutes, I was told, “Take them out in five minutes.” Translation, “Take them out in one minute.” Proof of this translation – I was told five minutes. I then walked one yard and grabbed a water bottle. At that moment I was told, “Take them out.” Clearly Middle Eastern clocks run differently than those in America. (ha ha) The biscuits were transferred into a large bowl to cool down. After they cooled down, we placed them on a serving tray: img_20160910_190620185

That ends my adventure of learning what kleicha is and how to make it. I’m eager to make them again one day! Hopefully you got to learn about a new recipe from a different country, along with key tips on interpretation while cooking in a Middle Eastern kitchen. 🙂

Ahmeli… that cultures can learn from each other in many settings, including the kitchen.

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