Ritual Eating: Ramadan Break Fast in ‘Edible Manhattan’

A Ramadan break fast

Breaking the Ramadan fast (Photo by Joshua Kristal)

My friend Joshua Kristal is a great documentarian of rituals. Apart from being an artful event photographer, Josh has a talent for insinuating himself into exclusive gatherings, inner sanctums, and auspicious occasions, where he manages to capture people committing acts of community (see for yourself at his blog).

He also knows a thing or two about shooting food. And in this month’s issue of Edible Manhattan, you can see his beautiful photo spread capturing the communal and culinary ritual of breaking the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The shots were taken last year and show a family on the Lower East Side preparing and enjoying a feast after the daily fast. The accompanying text, written by John Kearney, includes welcome suggestions on where to get traditional items and ingredients, and some great history on Muslim settlement in New York—I love the bit about the immigrants in Little Syria who brought over laban cultures by soaking cloth in yogurt, drying it, and carrying it in their pockets. It’s a lovely piece that conveys the giddy, ecstatic pleasure of breaking a fast among family and friends.

By the way, Ramadan began August 1 and continues until August 29.

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