Today I spent the day with my dear friend, Amanda, and her dad, Kareem, in San Antonio (an extremely welcome break from the last few days of worry about my grandma).
When we were in our early 20s Amanda and I spent a few misbegotten months as roommates post graduation until she decided to move back in with her parents to reassess her life and its direction (she'd end up going to law school in Houston).
During that time as new ex-roommates I would drive down to stay with her and her lovely, hospitable parents in their clean, safe suburban home. It was like an oasis in my life of chaos and I have wonderful memories of eating homemade dolma and watching cable on her parents' couch.
The 'rents have since moved into an enormous, multi-windowed house, but the hospitality is exactly the same. Kareem had a twinkle in his eye as he greeted me and his beautiful Arabic accent tripped of his tongue as he said, "Hullo, Hollis!" Hollis twinkled back at him and regarded him with no skepticism whatsoever even though he was a perfect stranger, but with an open-hearted two-year old eye. At some point during the visit Hollis took to wandering after the blind and deaf dog who either walked or hopped everywhere and following Kareem around the house who would pat and touch him and ruffle his hair.
Kareem was just finishing his Turkish coffee when we arrived and I couldn't help but ask if there was any left. He obligingly made me my own demitasse cup of dark, rich, aromatic, and just-barely-sweet coffee. I was in freaking coffee heaven. Seriously, if you like your coffee black especially, you've got to try Turkish coffee. It's legions above the rest.
And my interest was genuine since I've only ever had Turkish coffee in college and never since, and Anthony himself recently discovered it, so Kareem offered to teach me how to make it! After hand-peeling spicy cardamom seeds into the coffee grinder with almost-black coffee beans, we ground them to a fine powder. Kareem then shook the grinder and banged its bottom on the counter vigorously in order to get the right dusty consistency. Next, we boiled water in a cezve and added the coffee powder, a dash of sugar, boiled it some more and then drank it up.
Meanwhile, Amanda had put Hollis on a bar stool. And then he started doing this:
Amazing, right?? This is just a few seconds of minutes' worth of dazzling two-year old coffee-grinding interpretation.
Man... today was just what I needed.
Thank you Amanda, Ragini, and Kareem, for being so freaking lovely.