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Make Them Feel Special

Make sure there’s something 
for everyone at your iftar table
by Noha Mohammed

The little people: Round them all up before iftar and make sure you have enough household help. As for the food, if you think children are miniature versions of ourselves and they should be eating everything we do, you’re wrong. Try to serve up perennial favorites including chicken nuggets, chips and meatballs with spaghetti somewhere other than in the dining room, preferably close to a big TV.

The mommas and the papas: Many elderly do not fast due to frail health, so graciously ask if they’d like to have a bite before sitting at the iftar table. If they are fasting, pay them the most attention, making sure they get their soups and drinks first. Place jugs of water close by in case they need to take medication, and always prepare at least one low-fat meat or poultry dish that’s easy for them to digest.

The vegetable kind: Always the ones to be left out as it’s a sign of good hospitality to stick meat or chicken in just about every iftar offering, most vegetarians end up picking at rice and pickles. At your table, always make sure you have a couple of meat-free vegetable varieties. Cheese-stuffed tomatoes and saffron-and-rice-filled colored peppers make a visually impressive addition to the spread and are a welcome relief for vegetarians.

Sugar highs: It’s a bit trickier with diabetics, as you’ll actually have to prepare some things especially for them. Go for lean meats or chicken, instead of fatty pigeon or duck, and again offer up more colorful vegetable dishes either fresh or lightly cooked in olive oil. For drinks, prepare a jug of freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice (go easy on sugar with the latter) or just set aside some unsweetened karkade or tamr hindi and let them add sugar to taste. Bring out a basket of fresh fruit so they can resist the syrupy basboussa and kunafa desserts.

Dieters: For those strong enough to stick to a diet or just going through a midlife crisis: all of the above. Actually, many people who are neither gravitate toward healthier food, so it certainly won’t hurt to include lots of fresh greens and dips as salads and grilled lean meats as entrees. Try as much as possible to avoid fatty or fried foods instead of all that samna.

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