Breaking the Fast at a Ramadan Iftar at Khan BBQ

We will gather one hour before sunset to learn about Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan nights and before observant Muslims depart for evening prayers. Many of the people present will not have consumed even a morsel of food or drink since daybreak that day at 4:01 am. To replicate the experience, we suggest not drinking or eating from once we meet at the restaurant until sunset at 8:29 pm. Certainly you may eat before you arrive.

Khan BBQ offers a nightly Iftar buffet during Ramadan. The composition of the meal is fixed, though what is offered changes nightly. The Iftar buffet will have dates (consumed at the initial breaking of the fast), naan (Indian bread), a featured BBQ, a rice dish, pakora (savory appetizer), rosewater milk and ice water. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting for Muslims around the globe. Contrary to popular belief, there is an amazing array of food to enjoy between sunset and sunrise. As varied as the Muslims themselves, so is their food. With cuisine spanning from Asia to the Mediterranean, Europe and the Americas, this program will demonstrate a variety of dishes that provide a sampling of the sweet, savory and everything in between, with an emphasis on Indian cuisine, however, we’ll also discuss how the ritual of fasting and eating throughout the month is performed day in and day out and how it is the same or varied throughout different Muslim communities globally and specifically in the U.S. Come to learn more about the traditional and modern food rituals of this very tasty month and enjoy some samples of halal food, too.

Yvonne Maffei, MA is a graduate of Ohio University (International Development/Spanish). She has lived and traveled abroad throughout Europe, Central America and the Caribbean as well as lived in several foodie cities in the U.S. where she was exposed to some of the best and most diverse cuisine the world has to offer. Today Yvonne publishes, a website about halal food and cooking that emphasizes wholesome and natural living, clean eating and knowing where your food comes from. She recently published her first cookbook, Summer Ramadan Cooking and teaches about healthy cooking, gardening and how to make any cuisine halal.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 7:30 PM
*Sunset is at 8:29 PM this day, so please arrive at the scheduled meeting time
Khan BBQ
2401 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60645
(southwest corner of Devon and Western Avenues)
Street Parking
Cost: $15 (food, tax & tip) Payment confirms your reservation.

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. Any questions, please e-mail: [email protected]   You may pay by credit card online at EventBrite   No refunds after noon on June 29th.

2 thoughts on “Breaking the Fast at a Ramadan Iftar at Khan BBQ

  1. In response to questions sent via PM:

    Some years ago, I was in search of breakfast at Ramadan. A small group of us were roaming Devon Avenue at 4:00 am give or take 30 minutes. Ramadan during this period was in fall with sunrise much later. I assumed if we came about an hour before sunrise, we’d have whatever they offered for Ramadan. We arrived to places that were closing or had a few offerings. I expected more when there was a known extended abstinence from sunrise to sundown.

    A few years ago, I met Yvonne Maffei at a Culinary HIstorians program. She invited me to her home for breakfast during Ramadan. I knew sunrise was around 5:00 am. I was surprised to learn I needed to be at her place by 3:00 am. I did, because they could only eat up until 4:10 am on this day. It is absolute first light, not sun up, when then began their fast. Once I learned this, it explained why showing up at some Devon Muslim places for early breakfast, we were met with surprise because we were already late.

    Yvonne’s husband explained they once were away and not certain when it was first light. They were in a hotel room eating and checking the sky for first light. Once they saw it, they stopped.

    “Many of the people present will not have eaten or drank since daybreak at 4:01 am. To replicate the experience, we suggest not drinking or eating from once we commence until 8:29 pm. Certainly you may eat before you arrive.”

    Perhaps I am inserting my reaction to the experience of iftar when I suggest, “replicating the experience.”

    I have arrived 45 minutes early for iftar in the past. People started collecting their food, pouring their beverages, yet nobody touched a morsel. Perhaps this is a reflection of my reaction to food: there was a tension building watching all this food and not touching it. I am used to seeing food, touching, nibbling, sipping — not looking and not touching. At least for me, there was a tension building in seeing, not touching and wanting to eat.

    The occasion when I did meet Yvonne for breakfast. I thought maybe I’d try to abstain until iftar. I went seven hours before I put up the little white flag to have a drink and something eat. It takes practice to abstain from food and drink for hours.

    Catherine Lambrecht

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