The world is full of so many passions these days. From gamers, fashionistas and bakers; we even go as far as labelling ourselves as people obsessed with cleaning our homes. One that you will hear often in the blogosphere is foodie – but what does that really mean to the young Scottish Muslim?
When groups of young Muslim professionals and friends get together and cannot settle on anywhere but a popular commercialised chicken restaurant to eat it may be brushed under the carpet. However, whilst they ponder over pittas and Peri-peri chips we need to sit and think: is this the best we can do?
Halal food has been a long time taboo topic amongst non-Muslims, as we live in a society where unfortunately revealing too much about yourself can often uncover the racial micro-aggressions we wish to avoid. In our new found search for open dialogue can good food take us there?
Have you perhaps realised someone you work with or know keeps turning down invitations to impromptu lunches with non-Muslim friends or festive meals with co-workers? It’s something that I have been guilty of whilst all the time thinking I’m not paying £45 for a stuffed pepper.
There is of course the argument that they don’t mind where everyone dines but this will subsequently ensue the inevitable course of events a Muslim goes through eating unprepared at a non-Halal restaurant. A multitude of questions …can I just ask…is the food cooked separately…is there alcohol in that…is there gelatine in the cheesecake? The list is endless.
They will be left to accept the fact that they have resorted to eating a dish they don’t like or want, for a price they don’t want to pay all the while gazing upon the trendy foods of their friends as they rave about the new Instagram sensation. The whole time they are really just thinking about what they will pick up to eat on their way home. McDonald’s anyone?
So here are a few things we ourselves as Muslims can do to make life just a little easier. Don’t rely on others to do it for you.
- Get up close and personal with the Halal food scene. Follow bloggers, email restaurants and enquire about their meat and produce. You will be surprised as to what gems you can uncover.
- Know what questions to ask about cross contamination and cooking ethos.
- Make your non-Muslim friends aware that you are going to phone ahead and find out what is Halal or what will be available for you to eat. Don’t leave them in blissful ignorance of your religious beliefs.
- Widen your palette – whether you grew up eating Ghanian, Pakistani or Malaysian food, try to step out of your comfort zone once in a while.
Most importantly stand up and suggest somewhere you would like to eat.
In the end who cares if it’s a medium hot pitta with cheese and Peri-peri chips? At least it was your first choice and not your only choice. If we aren’t even comfortable with suggesting Halal options how can we expect others to be?
By Raisah Goheer