Whew, it really is the dog days of summer around here, if you're allowed to say that when it isn't even August yet. It's hot and muggy out and it seems like everyone is just sitting around waiting for the last few hours of Ramadan to end. Oh wait, didn't I say last time that I something to share today? I hinted at the fact that I'd been hit with more of my fair share of the Egyptian stomach revenge these past few months, which is certainly true, but I've also been growing this tiny person inside me, who seems to have a lot of opinions about food, most of which seem to be negative.
(And, yes, if you found that paragraph at all ambiguous, we are expecting a baby the first week of December! One of you commenters even guessed it last time, you spoil sports.) I could not be more thrilled, but I've also been faced, for the first time in my life, with a complete and total disinterest in food. It was surprising to me how little food, nevermind even walking into the kitchen, became unappealing to me. Just finding something palatable became a challenge, and there were a few weeks where I had a repeated "sad pregnancy dinner" of peanut butter toast and a sliced apple.
To make matters worse, just when I rounded the end of the first trimester, I was hit by a bad virus followed by an Egyptian stomach bug. I am extraordinarily lucky that my mother-in-law is an OB and so even though I was sick and half way around the world from home I was always in good hands. For a while there my concern become just eating anything, so a lot of juices, smoothies, and milkshakes were on the menu. I'm still working on perfecting my avocado, yogurt and honey smoothie, stay tuned.
Luckily, as I round the corner into my fifth month (!!!!) I'm feeling great and even back to making dinner again. I can't tell you how good that feels. For the first time this week a few people in our building even noticed my belly, prompting quite a few "Allah ynowar" and "from the waters of the Nile" blessings and jokes.
I have so much to say about pregnancy, especially as someone who's been a dancer/pilates/yoga person for their entire life, and even more to say about maternity and workplace issues around pregnancy and all of that. I did want to add that I also WALKED ACROSS ENGLAND in my eighth week of pregnancy, a fact that I will probably be telling people for the rest of my life with great pride. It was actually great fun, if exhausting, and I was lucky to have two great moms by my side.
When I was still in my first trimester and trying to find more exciting ways to stay hydrated I remembered the lemon cordial that we used to make in the summer in Damascus to drink mixed with tonic water. I can still see the glass bottle of cordial and the Arabic Schweppes logo sitting out on the porch now. I made it instead with Egyptian desert limes, which are like American key limes. It's wonderfully tart-sweet and refreshing when it's hot out. Just this week a made another batch with lemon and ginger, in an effort to tamp down some occasional persistent nausea.
Before I go, while I'm no pregnancy expert, I thought I'd share a few things that have been helpful to me. This yoga video is just right, gentle enough for your most tiring days, or paired with other weight exercises on other days. Preferably while wearing the most comfortable top ever. I had lists from several friends from their baby registries, but this one from Cup of Jo is great. Also advice for dads, and a sommelier on pregnancy (even if you aren't drinking, her tips about taste bud changes were interesting).
This recipe makes enough to last a long time, or enough for one giant summer cocktail party.
2 cups sugar
2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup water
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened slightly. Pour into clean jars and store in the fridge.
2. Serve a splash of cordial in a glass of sparkling water or tonic water, or use for cocktails. I imagine it would make an excellent variation on gin and tonic.
Variation: For lemon ginger cordial, use lemon juice plus a 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped. Strain out the ginger before bottling.