Second and third experience with chicken… good and not so good

Being Allergic to Chicken
Discovering that my Chicken Allergy is Gone
This Was the First Bite of Chicken in My Life

Experience #2 – the good: I’ve never really liked shawerma, and never understood why so many people are obsessed with it. When I ask, the answer has always been “Because lamb shawerma is crap”. That’s why my second bite of chicken ever was a bite from Rami’s chicken shawerma platter from Karam.

The verdict: Hmm, is that zaatar? It tastes like zaatar. I can’t taste any chicken, actually. The garlic sauce is awesome. I feel like I’m eating zaatar with garlic. Does chicken shawerma always taste so mild? It doesn’t taste like lamb shawerma at all. It is definitely better than lamb shawerma. It’s also not as crinkly dry around the edges. Interesting. I really love the zaatar taste. And yaaay, no stupid onions in my sandwich. The texture is nice, sort of like tuna melt. Not too chewy. Not bad!

So, what’s your favorite shawerma place?

Chicken shawerma: 7/10

Experience #3 – the really bad: Yesterday, I ate two little baby carrots that spent the day getting roasted in the same pot as some chickens. The dish was completely homemade. I didn’t eat any chicken, just the carrots.

Within seconds, my mouth, throat, and face were itching madly; I had little red dots on my tongue; and I spent two hours feeling like I was about to throw up. All this from two baby carrots.

What the hell, body? What the hell?

And I was so looking forward to having turkey for the first time in my life tonight. Now I won’t dare.

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This was my first bite of chicken in life

Being Allergic to Chicken
Discovering that my Chicken Allergy is Gone

If you’ve never had chicken before in your life, what would you choose to try for your very first time?

My choice, a week after discovering that my allergy is gone, was one of the things I’ve been craving since I was a very little girl, sitting sadly at the fast-food joint and watching my brothers munch-away with jealousy. It was always completely off limits, with zero friendly options. Even their famous mash and gravy had little pieces of chicken.

Can you make a guess?

Popeyes… Fake, oily, deliciously and disgustingly processed junk food.

A few days ago, Popeyes was my first taste of poultry, ever.


Rami, my wonderful fiance and guide on this chicken culinary journey, got me chicken tenders.

(Let’s just take a minute to repeat that. He got ME CHICKEN tenders. Whoa.)

He said the tenders are not as “stinky” as other things on the menu. After an hour of pep talk, I shoved that first bite into my mouth.

It’s strange trying food for the first time. Everything is weird… the texture, the way it gets chewed, the flavour.

The texture of the chicken was very, very strange for me. Is it always that dry? The fibers are much more separated than in fish and in other sorts of meat. It felt like someone pulled the fibers apart and then put them back together in a square, before frying it in Cajun batter. It was also really, really chewy, leaving a strange sticky sensation on my teeth. Sort of like when you eat Twizzlers. Is that just Popeyes, or is chicken always like that in texture and chewiness? The taste of the chicken itself was alright, definitely not as bad as I expected, but really, really bland. Sort of like cardboard.

The Cajun spices were amazing though. They tasted as good as the smell I’ve imagined my entire life. That was pleasant.

My stomach didn’t feel too well after eating two tenders. I didn’t get the itchy allergic reaction I used to get, so that’s great. Rami tells me that of course my stomach didn’t feeling well… It’s oily, disgustingly processed Popeyes, after all.

So there. My first experience with chicken.

Popeyes: 5/10
Cajun spices: 10/10
Chicken: 1/10

I’m not even sure you can separate the Cajun rating from the Popeyes rating. I’ve never had that flavor before.

What do you think? Also, make suggestions. What should my next meal be?

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Chicken… Here I come

I’m thirty. I’ve never had chicken in my life, because I’ve been allergic since before I can even remember.

But allergies — especially those developed when really young — are supposed to fade with age, so I decided to get tested earlier this month.

The pleasant surprise: my allergy is gone.

Just like that.

Imagine. I’m a thirty-year-old person who has never had chicken shawerma. Turkey. Msakhan. Nuggets. Wings. Farooj. Popeyes. Chicken soup. Smoked turkey and cheese. Jaj mahshi. Sheesh tawuk. Drums. A club sandwich.

You get the point.

With one blood test, a whole new world has opened up. A world where I don’t have to pack my meals to dinner parties, and where I don’t have to be phobic about whether or not that piece of lettuce was touching the chicken in the caesar salad. IT DOESN’T MATTER ANY MORE IF YOU USED CHICKEN BROTH TO COOK THOSE VEGETABLES.


Now begins a journey too strange for me to not share… The journey into poultry.

Of course, it’s not easy. I associate the flavor of chicken with holding my hair out of my face, while bending over the sink and throwing my guts out. The smell, which I recognize better than you do, is the smell of fear.

But I’m going to face my fear and embrace a culinary journey.

Chicken… Here I come.

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Yesterday we watched “Hamlet”, a performance at the Odeon amphitheater by English troupe London Globe. The performance brought to my mind one of the first paintings I ever loved, which was of Ophelia.

I may have been 6 or 7, and the painting was the star of a “Spot the differences” gimmick in Majalet Majed or something like that. I didn’t know what Hamlet was at that point of course, nor was I familiar with Millais. But even though I was so young, I fell in love with the beautiful layering of hair, tulle, and flowers floating on water. I couldn’t understand how the artist made them flow that way. So I cut that page and saved it.

It was years later that I became familiar with Shakespeare, Ophelia, and Millais.

It’s still one of my favorite paintings.

There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.


Contact lenses in 1948

This is crazy. And I find soft lenses annoying.

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An Open Letter to الناس اللي بغزو بالدوار الأول

The title is the title I found of a draft I wrote in 2009 but that I never published: “To the people taking over the First Circle”. Funny now, because the First Circle area has been a wasteland of junk and shit for the past several years.

I’m in a very nostalgic phase of my life, in the season of migration, again. Almost every single one of my friends has just started the trip to greener pastures in the world.

I lived through this season twice in my life before. The first time, I was one of migrators, moving to Amman after life in Saudi Arabia, and I had to build my social network from scratch. The second time, I was on the other side, a nester. I had to make new friends and acquaintances after the vast majority of my friends moved away from Jordan after we graduated from university.

I’m 30 now, and the cycle is starting again. But I’m too old for this shit. Ahh, the various forms of 3rd world problems.

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