For one, it traditionally seems to involve a lot of hearty meat dishes. I knew that for the menu I wanted to go classic Middle Eastern - read: homemade pita, smoky babaghanush, garlicky hummus, and clearly some tangy muhamarra, a paste of grilled red pepper and walnuts with vinegar and spices. Along with that goes bourekas, stuffed savory pastries filled with spinach and potatoes.
So I compiled some meat masterpieces that I felt fit the bill. I wanted representation from the myriad and complex traditions of all the voices we would have at our table. I went with sofrito, a Jewish comfort food of chicken simmered with spices and fried potatoes until it's falling-off-the-bone tender. Next I added maqluba, a Palestinian casserole of lamb, rice, cauliflower, and eggplant which is flipped upside-down before serving. For good measure, I threw in a Persian pot of beef with stewed fruit and exotic spices.
Of course, to honor Eduardo's Cuban roots, I also prepared moros y cristianos, rice and black beans. And the feast would not be complete without sweets - I made baklava, and attayif, sweet yeast pancakes doused in rosewater syrup, which I found featured in an Israeli cookbook's Ramadan section.
One minor detail which I forgot to mention: I had to prepare all of this while fasting! (You will recall that the whole point of this exercise was to mark the breaking of a fast... which means there must be one to begin with...) For me this was not as hard as it may seem, as to me cooking is in many ways a creative art in and of itself, in isolation from its connection to eating. Moreover, I always value the close connection between religion and food. What we eat, when, how - and with whom - can be a rich form of expression of our spiritual state, our heritage, and our identity.
I will declare that the #onefast recipe was a success! Everyone gathered, ate, and communed. At the end of the evening I asked one guest whether this was what a traditional Iftar is like. "Forget Iftar," was the reply, "This is much better!"