Chef in training

Every Wednesday Yasir got home from school an hour later than usual. That was because, once a week, he attended the after-school cooking club. Last week they had made banana muffins. And today they’d learned all about different kinds of edible oils. He’d even gotten a few samples to share with his family.

His mother had just picked him up from school, and they were driving home. He was telling his mom all about the kinds of oils, when she started grinning. ‘You think coconut oil is funny, Mama?’, Yasir asked turning towards his mother.

His mother shook her head and pointed to the CD player. She always put on the Quran when driving. She said it helped her remember her lines, and also calmed her down. Yasir looked at the radio – then he looked at his mom. ‘What do you mean, Mama?’, he asked confused.

‘Yasir honey, this Surah* is talking about the olive tree and olive oil. I thought that was a funny coincidence, seeing how you were learning about oils today.’, explained his mother.

Yasir was bewildered. The Quran talked about olive oil?! Maybe that explained why Mama kept reciting it when she cooked. When he asked her that she chuckled. ‘Well, I never thought of it that way, honey. I mostly recite it to study the lines for my class’, she explained as they were getting out of the car, and into their apartment building.

‘Mama, can we try eating all the oil samples dipped in bread? Let’s figure out which one tastes best!’, suggested Yasir eagerly.

‘Well, that would make an interesting snack for sure. You wash up and I’ll grab the bread, let’s toast it first’, she decided.

Yasir took out each little oil bottle. He had Avocado oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Canola oil and Vegetable oil. They were all different colors. They smelled different too. Next he took five pieces of bread and dabbed each one with a different oil. Then he and his mother ate them.

They chewed quietly. Then they thought for a bit. They dipped a little bit more.

‘I like olive oil the best!’, they both said in unison. Yasir and his mom both looked at each other and burst out laughing.

‘Is it because of the Surah, Mama?, he asked. Because if it is, that’s okay, but I still want your real opinion too.’

‘Well, I did like the avocado oil also. But, with the bread, I think olive oil’s the best. I also read that the Prophet (SA) liked it, and I do like to do what he did. He(SA) has a saying that goes like this:

“Eat the (olive)oil and use it on your hair and skin, for it comes from a blessed tree.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi)

So olive oil is my final verdict.’, said Mama.

Yasir smiled. ‘Hmm, that’s okay mom. I liked your reasons. And don’t worry about these other oils. Now that I’m in the cooking club, I know tons of recipes that call for all these other oils.’, he claimed expertly.

His mother chuckled at that. ‘Well, I sure hope they also taught you to put everything away once you’re done.’, she kidded.

Yasir grinned. ‘Of course mom, the chef has taught us the most important rule – Cut down the stress, please clean your mess!’

Both his mom and Yasir laughed, and started to clear the kitchen.

*”And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows oil, and (it is a) relish for the eaters.” [al-Mu’minoon 23:20]

Picture courtsey : By David Monniaux (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (], via Wikimedia Commons

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