The last few days before Eid, my mother would wake up just before fajr.
She’d sit in her prayer clothes, reading the Qu’ran and then she would get up to pray fajr.
When she was done praying, she’d get her large bowl of ahjeena (dough), a molding spoon, and a few sheet pans and then sit out in the backyard, as the sun began to rise.
She would sit outside, for hours, making tiny morsels of deliciousness. Small bites of heaven from her own hands. She would make hundreds of little mamool cookies.
By the time we were awake, her hands would be caked with ahjeena, as she’s wiping them on her t-shirt that she probably stolen from my drawer. Half of the cookies would be in trays waiting to be cooked. The other half already in the oven.
The smell of mamool (for those who don’t know, mamool are small donut shaped cookies stuffed with date paste or walnuts), would fill the house.
We weren’t allowed to eat any of the ones that were already done. She wanted to count how many she actually made. Mainly, to divide them up evenly, to distribute to our neighbors, who were non-Muslim, but loved receiving a plate of my mom’s mamool.
After about two days of cooking, the entire kitchen would be filled with Tupperware filled with these small cookies.
I could literally eat an entire sheet of them, all powdered with sugar.
I miss my mother. I miss my mother more during Ramadan/Eid. From her waking us up for suhoor, making out favorite dishes for iftar, and the best part. The mamool.
No one makes them like my mother. Well, maybe my aunt, in California, who learned how to make them.
But still, there was something about my mother’s mamool. Maybe the oil from her hands made them taste differently. Or how she pinched designs in them. I don’t know.
One day, I’ll die and God willing, I’ll see her again and we can sit around eating mamool together.
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