This week, the folks at What Pegman Saw have brought us to Tel Saki, Syria (here).
I decided to write about some Syrian folks who have been displaced from their home, but they are still trying to keep coffee traditions alive:
Making Coffee (fiction word count: 150)
It was still dark as the family prepped their cafe.
“No, Asu,” the man griped, “Sugar is added when the water boils.”
“Why pappa? If they want it sweet let’em add sugar at the end.”
Cupping his hand along the long-handled bronze pot, pappa explained: “Proper coffee is part of our heritage. We might be miles from our native land, but we mustn’t let Syrian traditions dwindle or weaken.”
“Show me again.”
“Line up pots. One for each: without sugar (murrah), low sugar (mazboutah), and sweet (hilweh).
Add water, sugar, coffee, and cardamom.
Stir gently until foaming. Remove from fire.
Spoon foam into each patron’s cup.
Put the coffeepot back on the burner for a quick reheat – no boil.
Then, and only then, pour coffee into the cups as the foam rises up.
“So….” Asu chimed in, sugar in first helps the foam?”
“Yes – and allows better flavor assimilation.”
To join in with this fiction challenge, or to read more , go here.
The writing aim is to write a short fiction piece in 150 words or less – based on the location provided.
This week’s location of Tel Saki, Syria had me considering a few angles.
First, I thought about the wine brothers, Karim and Sandro Saadé, who manage wine-making from grapes that are harvested from the slopes of the Coastal Mountain Range in Syria (more here). But I did not want to write about wine this week.
Second, I thought of writing a little bit about Lake Ram, which is a crater lake (maar) in the northeastern Golan Heights, but that felt dry.
Third, I thought about addressing something with the Syrian Druze community that used to reside in Golan Heights and how they fled to other parts of Syria following the wars with Israel in 1967 and 1973. But that was feeling way too political.
Then, after reading about how Syrian coffee is a lot like Turkish coffee and finding some cool images – and after reading Dan’s post (here) – I decided to have a little vignette of a displaced family where the father was helping his son to keep proper coffee-making traditions alive.
I read: “When walking around a Syrian city, you will often see giant reproductions of coffee pots, because the Syrians consider coffee part of their lifestyle, and this is how they like to show it. Coffee is always served on important occasions: from prenuptial meetings of prospective wives through to purification rituals and funerals. The coffee-drinking ritual can transform even an ordinary visit to a Syrian home into a solemn occasion.”
And in my fiction, I tried to show assimilation of flavor while this family tried to prevent too much culture assimilation while being displaced from their homeland.
And maybe a little play on elevation with the “still dark” (sun not up) and then foam rises up at end – maybe?
Thanks for reading and hope you have a nice day.