Thursday 11 December 2008

Oman: Shuwa

For a few days I have been waiting for activity around the local shuwa pit during Eid. Several trucks appeared yesterday afternoon and lumps of prepared meat wrapped in palm leaf bags and chicken wire were dropped onto the fire in the deep pit. Each bundle had some form of artefact attached to identify ownership. The lid was then placed over the pit and covered with sand.

This morning, after about 18 hours cooking, the pit was opened releasing a subtle sweet aroma. Using concrete reinforcing bars as hooks, each of the thirteen bags were removed and handed to their owners. Those living nearby used wheel barrows to carry away their treasure, while others from as far as Wadi Kabeer, piled the blackened sacks onto trucks.

An hour later, the doorbell rang and I was greeted by a young girl who held out a foil-covered plate containing the most delicious and wonderfully spicy meat. I thanked her in my finest standard Arabic and headed for the kitchen in an attempt to save some for this evening.

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