Everyone has a special relationship with food. There are meat-eaters, vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans and the list goes on.
Hira Qureshi and Dima Amro are two college seniors that have decided to bring attention to their Muslim culture with food. It’s a known fact that there is a Muslim presence in Memphis. However, the community does not receive much coverage or representation in the media. Both ladies are studying journalism at the University of Memphis, which is where their podcast was born.
Hira Qureshi describes herself as a food enthusiast, coffee lover and public radio junkie. Her cohost, Dima Amro is interested in international media and has an abundance of love for her two cats.
The idea started when the spring semester was coming to an end and the class Qureshi was in was going to celebrate with a food day. Awesome, right? Barbeque was brought up as a meal option which was a bit of a problem for her. She could only eat barbeque from Tom’s Barbeque. It is the only place in Memphis that serves halal barbeque.
What is halal? It means anything that’s permissible according to Islamic law and guidelines. The concept of halal food isn’t known by a lot of people.
“I started this podcast because I’m a huge foodie,” says Qureshi, “I wanted to explore the Muslim-American culture because even as someone who is a part of that culture, I’m still trying to understand what that is to me.”
The podcast is called Eating Z, ‘z’ standing for zabihah, which refers to food that is halal. The animals need to be healthy, clean from any diseases, can not be fed any other animals or hormones. Meat that is zabihah has gone through humane slaughter and has been blessed.
The Muslim-American culture is not ‘white and black’; it’s full of variations that can’t really be defined. As a result, Qureshi has come up with the idea of inviting local celebrities amongst their community to be a part of their podcast. The guests will discuss their point of view of being a Muslim, z eating, and different influences.
The show is Memphis-based so it makes sense to go to local restaurants but the options are a bit slim.
“At first we ate at local places,” says Amro, “but there’s only a handful of zabihah places that sell halal meat.”
The ladies will continue to spotlight their 901 community but hope to expand the show to other cities.
“Whenever we do go to restaurants, I just get the sides,” Amro says. Whether she is ordering a meat dish minus the meat or sticking with the sides, she accommodates herself. As any great co-host, Amro gives Qureshi her full support. That being said, people with different food opinions can still work alongside each other as well as coexist without pushing a certain lifestyle.
With just the right balance of information and entertainment, Eating Z is not just a podcast—it’s a casual conversation shared amongst friends and listeners. If you’re like me and you’re trying to ease your way into listening to podcasts, then I recommend Eating Z. The show is not even an hour-long so it’s an easy transition. Each month brings a new episode.