Friday, July 10, 2009
Mensef: The Full Experience
I know I already did a blog entry on mensef but this time I had the 'real deal' so I thought I would share this experience as well. It was fun, it was filling, it was messy.
My roommates, some friends and I were invited to go to Alis family's house in Irbid for some mensef, or should I say, a lot of mensef. Traditionally, the men all gather around a big plate of the mensef and dig in with their hands. More often the women sit separately and eat with forks. Those who know me won't be surprised that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to eat with my hands so I chose to eat on the floor with the guys and dig in. I was given proper mensef eating instructions, which consists of rolling the rice and meat into a ball in your hand and then using your thumb to scoop the food into your mouth. I had mastered the thumb manouver in India but had never tried to roll rice and meat into a ball so this was an entirely new challenge. The first couple times was challenging but after a bit, I got the hang of it. I think for a first timer my mensef ball rolling skills were pretty good.
Shortly after we dug in, Muaz said, I know you might think this is gross, but to honor guests, we put good pieces of meat in front of them to eat. Soon, I had pieces of meat being tossed in front of me from all directions and I felt pretty loved.
I was still picking away at the food after all but one of the guys had stopped eating, probably because it took me longer to eat properly and I was taking smaller portions. Suddenly, Andy said, 'you know Ali (the host) can't stop eating until you stop eating'. Ohhhh.....so soon I got up to wash my hands and Ali followed, probably relieved that he didn't have to keep eating to the point of being uncomfortable. I look forward to my next mensef experience not only because it's good food, but because it's so fun!