How It Happened by Shazaf Fatima Haider
Summary: This 2012 novel takes a look at traditional arranged marriages in Pakistan through the eyes of a young teenage girl whose siblings are preparing for marriage. Her grandmother, the matriarch of the family, has strict ideas about how marriages should be arranged and the kinds of people that are “worthy” of marrying into their family. The main conflict in the novel comes from the children resisting these traditional views and wanting to make choices for themselves, while at the same time wanting to respect centuries of tradition and please their grandmother.
Response: This book was written for people who already know a lot about traditional arranged marriages and about Pakistani culture. It is not written for an audience of Westerners. I found myself looking up words constantly and writing in the margins of the book because there were so many unfamiliar terms.
A lot of the reviews I read about the book described it as “laugh-out-loud funny” and “hilarious.” It was definitely amusing, but I think my own ignorance prevented me from connecting with it as a “hilarious” novel. I really enjoyed reading it, though. The writing style is fresh and the plot moves very quickly. Overall, it was a great read!
I bought all of the ingredients for “Hyderabadi Style” biryani before my husband informed me that Hyderabad is in India. Oops! So, I scrambled to find a Pakistani recipe for biryani. This project certainly gave me an education and showed me just how ignorant I was about certain parts of the world.
I also ended up on a reddit thread discussing how impossible it was to settle on a particular biryani recipe, or even a national cuisine for countries like Pakistan and India, where there are many different religions and cultures with distinct food traditions. In any case, I settled on this one: https://www.faskitchen.com/pakistani-chicken-biryani-recipe-chicken-biryani-pakistani-style/
I would love to go to Pakistan someday and try it for myself.
So, they don’t really drink in Pakistan because it’s such a predominantly Muslim country. However, I found this 2002 article in which the author investigated the underground cocktail scene in Pakistan: https://www.weeklystandard.com/tucker-carlson/cocktails-in-pakistan
Basically, there is a tiny bar in the Karachi airport, and there is one single brewery run by a Zoroastrian guy who makes beer and whiskey. Obviously, I needed to make a whiskey cocktail. I figured tonic was a natural mixer, since it was developed in India and Pakistan to prevent malaria. Plus, since drinking is so rare in Pakistan, I figured a simpler cocktail would be more representative. One shot of whiskey over rocks in a short glass, fill with tonic, and a lemon slice for garnish - voila!