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The power of kabob
I needed the Kabob, right then, and right there. I slapped myself. Don’t let it control you, I thought.


Jennia Rajaei
October 24, 2005

Perhaps I have found the first error in Webster’s dictionary. Kabob, defined by this dictionary, is a skewer of meat marinated and cooked on a grill usually with vegetables. But, Kabob, at least the Kabob I know, is not just a skewer of meat. Kabob has actually the capacity to alter the mood of any environment or of any individual, if of course, this kabob is given the proper attention.

Unlike the required involvement of many Persian meals, Kabob actually involves both the men and the women of the family. The attentiveness and exact measurements that need to be put into making that perfectly tender and juicy yet sturdy skewer is extraordinarily intricate, therefore requiring the input of both genders. The total time for preparation is roughly four hours. So if there is an accompanying family gathering, cooking the Kabob has to begin at around two in the afternoon.

My last engagement with this beautiful food began last Saturday. Initially, my mother and I marinated the chicken in onions, yogurt, saffron, and fresh lime juice in all of the precise proportions. After approximately two hours of soaking in the flavored combination, we placed the chicken kabob into the skewer and onto a tray.

All the meanwhile, my father and uncle were preparing the next crucial component of this ultimate Kabob: the grill. My father has always told me how important it is to allot an appropriate amount of time for letting the grill and charcoal to burn. If the charcoal, underneath the grill, does not burn to completion, the Kabob will absorb the fume of the charcoal and therefore loose its complete effectiveness in satisfying a hungry person.  

As if the Kabob was manipulating my mind, I suddenly became weak and desperate. Watching my father turn those gorgeous and juicy Kabob skewers had turned me into a drug addict; I needed the Kabob, right then, and right there. I slapped myself. Don’t let it control you, I thought.

The family gathering was beginning, and my large family started to pour into the house. I exactly remember the look on my aunt’s face as I hurried past her in a frantic search for a fork. She had been expecting an elaborate welcoming from me, involving two kisses on the cheeks and a warm hug. But, she must have not realized that the Kabob was beginning to work its power.

Like a merciless robber, I snatched the innocent fork from the kitchen table and darted outside. As I was preparing to seize a piece of the succulent Kabob off of the skewer my dad gave me a repressing look, and ordered me to wait until dinner.

This is exactly the exploiting and potent game of the Kabob. I spent hours helping to create this creature, and it was controlling me! But, by that moment, I submitted to the command of my father and sat by the dinner table, waiting submissively for the entrance of the mouth-watering Kabob.

Finally, when my mother served the rice, radish, onions, sumac, and grilled tomatoes, the Kabob had made its grand entrance after being uncovered by the layers of marinated warm bread on top. Finally, the Kabob gave up its game.

After ravenously eating this Kabob, I concluded that the long hours of torture actually served a very thoughtful purpose. The four hours of desire that is incorporated while making the meal, in fact, helps strengthen the whole function of Kabob, to give the person an indulging experience of feasting.  The ability of Kabob, not only as an evoking word, but as a food, to completely control and manipulate the temporary motivations and attitudes of a person is astonishing.

 More commanding than any mother-in-law, more teasing than any flirtatious teen, and more rewarding than any child prodigy, is Kabob, and for this reason exactly Kabob is my favorite word in the English language.          


For letters section
To: Jennia Rajaei


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