Away from Riyadh and Yes, I Missed Everyone!

This is just a quick impromptu post to again thank everyone for perusing my blog while I was gone and to keep the dialogues going.  And I must confess, while I had a wonderful time getting to see and tour Maida’n Salah, I also found myself wondering occasionally what was going on back at the blog….  And of course throughout the trip I kept composing words in my head of how to capture and share the experiences of seeing some new and absolutely glorious territory in the Kingdom.  I made some quick “crib notes” and will be sharing at least six upcoming posts on the magnificense and the hidden treasures under the shifting sands of Maida’n Salah.


The Kingdom is so very much like a mirage or a kaleidscope in the way that ones perception  and views can shift so quickly depending on where one is.  I don’t think it can ever be properly captured and packaged in one extensive setting.


In Saudi Arabia It’s Called Shabat





When it comes to cooking, just about everything one needs or wants is available in the Kingdom.  The exception of course is any item which has an alcohol content such as flavored extracts, etc.  Sometimes though it may be difficult to find what you are looking for simply because an item known by one name in North America will (not surprisingly) be known by its arabic name in the Kingdom.



One such example is dill weed.  I enjoy using dill with so many of my dishes.  It adds extra zest and flavor to any dish with dairy products or to further enhance other vegetables like corn or tomatoes.  I had brought a supply of various spices to the Kingdom with me from my own well-stocked kitchen.  However over time my supply of dill became depleted.



The past weekend I wanted to bake a favorite baked corn casserole which my husband enjoys.  A secret to its success (in my view) is the addition of dill.  I went to the local Tamimi (Safeway) grocery store.  I looked and looked at the selection of McCormick spices and everything under the sun was there but dill.  Okay; I then went to the traditional spice section within the grocery store where all the spices are in large barrels similar to a bulk food section.  Unlike the States, the bulk spices are not self-served so I asked the wizened old Indian clerk manning the spices to assist me in locating the dill.  He looked at me blankly and told me in easily understandable English “There is no dill here.”  I was able to confirm that he had in fact never heard of dill and on looking closely at the various barrels of selections I realized there was indeed no dill.



The next day at the office I asked some of my Saudi colleagues if they had ever heard of dill or dill weed.  They also looked at me blankly and offered up the various names of spices they were familar with based on my description of dill.  They informed me about parsley, sage, mint and everything green but dill.





Finally it occurred to me to look up dill weed on google images and then see if they recognized the image.  Aha!  Presto!  Light bulb goes off.  Dill…..but of course, it’s called Shabat and available in each and every store.  However unlike in the States, dill/shabat is most commonly sold in its fresh form which is actually more poignant and tasty than the dried mixture.


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