What we do is we wake up at 4. Then the kids wake up at 4:30 for the pre-dawn meal. Myself, I like to eat bread and egg and cheese. The bread is kind of a flatbread. It's homemade bread, made from wheat flour and a little bit of butter. You put it on the skillet. That's what I make for everyone. I eat it with scrambled eggs and one cup of tea.
My kids eat differently. My daughter, she likes cereal better. The Special K, she loves that. She doesn't fast, but she likes how everyone's up in the morning. Normally, fasting starts at puberty, but most kids I know, they want to do it. My older son, he started at 9, and my other son is 10, and he's starting a full fast.
My older son, he eats leftovers from yesterday, and so does my husband. They both have the same brain.
Then from morning until sunset, no food, no drink.
Everybody breaks the fast with a date. Everybody I know does that. Just a fresh date from Costco, and water. Everybody likes different drinks. My oldest son likes lemonade. I like a yogurt drink: Just yogurt, water and a little bit of sugar. Sometimes people like cold milk with a little bit of syrup.
There are seeds we soak and they swell up. In Arabic, they're called tukmaria (the jelly-like sweet basil seeds are also known as sabja.) They soothe the stomach. You put it in the drink. It's tasteless.
We also have fruit. We had watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and cherries.
This is again something cultural, not religious, but we have fritters made from chickpea flour. That's just in our house. And then after that, when we're a little bit satisfied, we pray.
Dinner, technically, normally, is one protein, one carb, salad and sometimes dessert, but not always. We had chicken, rice, salad and lentil soup. The chicken was baked. Sometimes it's mixed with Indian spices. Very rarely we have fried chicken, but that's once in a blue moon. Maybe if the kids have been fasting 15 days and they're craving it, I give them fried chicken.
The salad is tomato, cucumber and onions. When we make it, we cannot taste it to know if salt is more or less. You don't want too much salt. The chicken is not too spicy so it doesn't make you drink more water.
Even at prayer, we have a water bottle. You have two glasses of water in the morning, two glasses of water at dinner and you have water before bed.
Other households might be eating the whole night. After the night prayer, they start a feast and eat and eat and eat. But that's not really religious. And after breaking the fast, you can't eat that much. Your stomach shrinks a little bit.
Reshma Khan is a gynecologist who lives in Mount Pleasant. She and her family are observing Ramadan.