the sajj-maker of D.C.
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 18, 2009
Are you two going to be alright here? M asked kindly. M lived in Italy for several years, so she knows what it is like to face Americanized interpretations of cuisines one knows in their local forms.
Don’t worry about us, I said cheerfully. We’ll be fine.
And we were, at least until I discovered “Camel Wings” on the menu. There are no camels in Lebanon – well, except for the camel-for-tourists stationed outside Moussa’s Castle. But Americans know that the Middle East has camels, so I guess at some point the Lebanese owners of the Lebanese Taverna decided to put “camel wings” (i.e., buffalo wings) on their menus.
And we were okay again, until A discovered the mana2ish – or “Lebanese-style pizza”, as the menu describes them.
How much would you pay for a man2oushe? A stage-whispered to me from behind the menu.
Depends on the topping, I said.
How about $7.50 for a man2oushe with zaatar? A asked.
Good God. In my neighborhood, the street mana2eesh were sold for 750LL each, or about 50 cents. At Zaatar w Zeit, I think they were more like 1,750, or $2.16.
Sticker shock led me to revisit something A had mentioned earlier during my visit: that his mother had recently sent him a crepe-maker.
When am I ever going to make a crepe? A asked, showing the gadget to me.
As we looked at it, we realized that this was no ordinary crepe-maker. This was a potential sajj-maker, man2ouche-maker, and even mar2ou2-maker, all rolled into one.
At $7.50 per man2oushe, A could have an incredibly lucrative second job as the neighborhood sajjci. Even at $5 per man2oushe, if A worked for two hours and made twenty man2ouche per hour, that’s $200. (If a Beirut sajjci made the same number, that’s 2*20*$.50=$20.)
Nice work, if you can get it – or if your loving mother sends you the fruits of her kitchen shopping .