I had intended to write a blog about preparing for Ramadan, but instead I’m writing about pie crust. Now, about the pie. There are only four ingredients in a pie crust- cold water, butter, flour and salt. It is almost impossible to go wrong. You add the flour and salt, toss in the butter till it’s all crumbly and them pour in a few tablespoons of water. Then you roll the dough out into a lovely round shape, and in my case, you wholly destroy it while trying to lift it off of the counter and into the pan.
You gather up the broken bits, mash them back into a ball and roll it out again. You carefully edge your fingers beneath it so as to not damage while lifting it, and then watch as it comes to pieces again. Five of them to be exact.
You fume. You rage. You add more flour. You roll it out one more time and threaten the pie crust as you try delicately to lift it from the counter. When the middle of it drops out, leaving you clutching at the edges of an uncooperative pie-crust twenty minutes before dinner is supposed to be served, you leave the recalcitrant pastry right where it is and go sit on the sofa and count to ten.
You call in reinforcements. You wake your sister up from off the sofa and explain your pitiful story. She stumbles groggily over to your piecrust and looks at it. She adds more butter, a little more flour, and she hands you the ball of dough so you can see what piecrust is supposed to feel like. You nod and give the ball back.
She rolls out the piecrust, nicely, roundly, and then lifts the edges. She picks it up and…it disintegrates in mid-air, landing halfway in the pan and halfway all over the counter.
You look at her.
She looks at you.
You both pick up the stray pastry bits and mash them into the bottom of the pan like play-doh.
You convene a council of bakermeisters to discuss the possible causes of the disintegration of the piecrust. After rejecting theories of:
Not enough flour? (you can’t mis-measure one cup.)
Water not icy enough? (It had ice-cubes floating in it.)
Wrong butter? (Same kind we use every time)
You are left with only one possible reason: the evil inherent in some pastries.
It’s a well-known fact that some pastries (specifically Napoleon and puff) are in league with the devil. They will do their level best to thwart you at every turn. They will crack, collapse, melt, implode or explode, sometimes all in the same baking session, just to test your skill as a baker and your Sabr as a Muslim.
Think about it, Shaitan isn’t really here to mislead us in big things, he’s never going to get Muslims to start worshiping stone idols or anything really major like that, so he just leads us astray in small ways. Like with diabolical pie crust. You think the piecrust is on your side, but actually, it’s not. It’s whole purpose is to make you lose your temper and become frustrated enough to direct your anger onto other things and people. This is also true of:
Flat tires on days when you’re already late.
Destructively-hot irons that burns holes in new clothing.
Though this doesn’t seem immediately connected to our Iman, we realize that these small things put you in a bad mood, which in turn, causes us to wrong our brothers. We snap at people. “Don’t bug me!,” we say, “I’m in a bad mood!” We allow our stress-levels to accumulate and then burst on people who had nothing to do with it. As parents, sometimes we take a bad day at work out on our kids. As kids, we take a crappy day and allow it to reflect in a lack of patience with our parents. As brothers and sisters, we talk to each other with rudeness and exasperation apparent in our voices.
The little things are a test of our patience and our ability to keep our tempers in check. The solution is to push the reset button on your emotions (it’s in the middle of your forehead. It can also be activated by going into Sajdah) and not allow the piecrust to win by making you lose the love, patience, and honor you’re supposed to treat all Muslims with.
Hmm. Looks like I’m writing about Ramadan after all.