Families splurge on expensive, delicious Iftar meals

 30 Jun 2014 - 5:17

 Katara is illuminated to welcome the holy month yesterday. Abdul Basit

DOHA: Qatari families are vying to dish out delicious and expensive fare this Ramadan.
Families in the largely rich community are taking pride in distributing expensive and delicious dishes among their neighbours as a symbol of their prosperity and social standing.
Al Sharq quoted a Qatari culinary expert as saying yesterday that the craze for one-upmanship among Qatari families during the holy month is reaching new and maddening levels.
“Preparing expensive and delicious food and exchanging it with neighbours is a new trend in our community in Ramadan,” Aisha Al Tamimi, a culinary expert, told the daily. When a family has a guest at Iftar (when Muslims break the day-long fast) they like to offer a dozen dishes and impress him with their culinary craft, as also with the fact that they can spend a lot on food, 
she said.
Families are also exchanging food with neighbours. The idea being to impress one another and vie over who makes the best food and who serves the widest variety, said Al Tamimi.
It leads to a criminal wastage of food and this is very sad, she said. “In the end, people eat just a little bit and the whole food is wasted.”
A wide variety of food that is expensive is being made by families for Iftar merely as a symbol of social status. 
This is putting immense and unwanted psychological pressure on families who are not well off and who cannot afford to splurge on such one-upmanship, said Al Tamimi.“This is because, according to custom, these families must also exchange food and match the quality.”
Al Tamimi said what is needed is social awareness to curb such practices. “We need light food and more of soup in Ramadan.”
Dr Abdul Kareem, a social researcher, told the daily the above trend was undesirable and a result of the ever-increasing prosperity of families due to the economic boom.
Increasing prosperity is changing the pattern of consumption of Qatari families. “The phenomenon needs to be studied to find out its causes and only then can it be curbed.”
There are some families that spend between QR100 and QR200 a day on getting outside food for each child, he said. “Expat families practise moderation because they know they must save for their future security.”
Prominent Muslim cleric and scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Buainain, said some families prepare food during Ramadan as if they are struck by hunger and famine.
“Ramadan is a month of austerity. People should worship. They should read the Holy Quran. Their focus should not be on food,” he said. The Peninsula