. The Scottish Gourmand A culture-rich country which lay to the east where we were invited to conference and feast from Cuba to China, and some of the rest they bade them here gather and money invest for though that land needed infusions of cash its laws were quite muddled and leaders were rash; the tourism Minister himself was on site but Āghā was murky on investors’ rights. They offered their finest concoctions, to wit the roe of beluga and lamb on a spit--- the sabzi’s exquisite, the rice bears zirishk and stragglers go hungry for dining is brisk. They laid out some ghīme, and eggplant in stew a batch of māhīche and some sāgo goo enticing the mehmāns were piles of kabob with fragrant meat pilaf and corn on the cob. Who’s raiding the dishes? A gigantic Scot that pondered but little though bantered a lot. McTartan let’s call him, a comic device we managed to prattle ‘tween mouthfuls of rice emerging triumphant, with rice cooked in dill and succulent fowl he’d snatched off the grill. Suit baggy and draping a Highlander’s frame, his brain tried to focus on everyone’s name--- a Glaswegian bonhomme, projecting great mirth with sonorous laughter befitting his girth. His first time abroad, they based him in Doha but meeting some locals, he called out Aloha! With ginger head-stubble as red as his fist he wanted for nothing save Scotch which he missed. Round visage expansive, and ruddy of cheek Scots accent so laden you’d say he spoke Greek. “I’ll tell you,” he ventured, “for such is the case the bosses they want me for my Western face. I thought that we’d left you in ‘73. The Brits are recruited for prestige, you see! As soon as they’d sodded away with their tanks the English invaded with tankers and banks, and, you Arab sir, whose name is unsung start writing your notions in this Anglo tongue!” He chatted on subjects I wished to avoid, while throwing some cutlets deep into his void. Our friend disowned haggis, he jonesed for kabob, accosting the table ahead of the mob. A Celtic marauder sans dagger and kilt, his cavernous innards he’d stuff to the hilt. The queue was a battle, the feeding cutthroat like hungry piranhas de-fleshing a goat. Now as I recall it, they did grill a goat and went on to maul it excepting the coat when seconds are needed, experience had taught the chow was depleted, so load up a lot! The puddings were funny, though bursting with color the flavor of one was as drab as the other. Our Scotsman was sated, and thought it divine that he had been fated his stomach to line. Though chewing was noisy, and slurping was loud an eye-pleasing beauty he spied in the crowd. Her eyes were to die for, her manteau was smart, her gorgeous appearance matched pureness of heart and though he converted, her dad to appease it’s totally worth it, she feeds him with ease. He moved back to Scotland, amid wintry scenes to tuck into tahdīg with lovely Shireen. . Notes Āghā: Mister, as in Mister Minister sabzi: Persian herb stew zirishk: common barbery, also spelled zereshk ghīme: minced meat, also spelled qeema māhīche: lamb shank with dill rice and broad beans sāgo: pudding made with starch extracted from a type of palm tree mehmāns: guests tahdīg: crispy Persian rice . . Wael Almahdi is a poet from the island of Bahrain. He has been a dentist for 12 years. He has also worked in English Arabic translation for 20 years. His poem “Rain” is slated to appear in the print edition of Arablit Quarterly. He can read a number of languages including Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, French, and Esperanto.