Eid greetings to everyone as I take a moment away from stirring the huge pot of lamb biryani sauce sitting on my stove. It is the hugest thing I have ever cooked. And the whole time I’m making it (from scratch, I’ll add with no humility), I’m imagining my mom peering over my shoulder giving me bits of advice. Like I knew if she saw how much fat I was beginning to trim off the meat, she’d say no, no, you have to leave on a little or it won’t taste good – so yes, I listened to her. I also listened to her about how just a little more mint won’t hurt when it’s lamb you’re working with.

Growing up, my mom kept the kitchen realm to herself – my siblings and I were so pampered – so it was a huge learning curve when I got hitched. After having one too many dinners of peanut butter sandwiches and soup, I decided to learn from the pro.

But how do you learn from someone who cooks by smell? All you gals out there (and, ahem, some of you guys out there) with add-a-pinch-of-this moms know what I’m talking about.

My mom’s most treasured cooking tip: “when it smells like this add this until the smell becomes like this.” and “when that good smell comes, add this.”

So as I’m waiting for that good smell to come so I can add this (the lamb), I start wondering what happens when the bad smell comes? Just then my friend from Qatar calls to wish me Eid Mubarak. And like the good friend and good cook she is, she reassures me through the process of adding this and that and suddenly, THE GOOD SMELL COMES! Folks, I’m excited because whereas I’ve made biryani lots of times before, I’ve never made a pot for so many people.

Now before that burning smell comes, ciao and Eid Mubarak!