Today is Claire’s due date (and our 5 year anniversary)! Instead of welcoming home a newborn this week, Claire decided to surprise us and was born last month when I was 36 weeks pregnant. For being slightly premature, she has been doing amazingly well. My friend Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook even threw me a surprise virtual baby shower with a great group of bloggers, but Claire was already here by the posting date! She was 6 pounds 3 ounces and 18 3/4 inches at birth and had already gained a pound and an inch by her two week appointment.
Evan loves having a sibling so far. He always has to know where she is, but will often tell me to give her to Daddy so I can focus on him. He also keeps trying to get her to play with his toys.
While I was pregnant, I looked into what different cultures eat and drink during the postpartum period. I came across a recipe for Aynar, a Lebanese Spiced Tea. Water is heated with cinnamon, anise seed, and ginger. I gently simmered the mixture for 1 1/2 hours, until the water transformed into a deep reddish brown color. The longer it cooks, the more strong the flavor will become. I mixed in sugar and served the tea with walnuts, but almonds or pine nuts may also be used. I have also seen tea mixtures include nutmeg, mahlab, or cloves. In addition to promoting healing in the postpartum period, it is also said to help with morning sickness while pregnant. I did not hear about this tea until after my morning sickness had ended, so I didn’t get to test this. I imagine the addition of ginger would definitely help though.
Other recipes that stood out during the search were Lohusa Şerbeti and Beschuit met Muisjes. Lohusa Şerbeti is a seasoned Turkish tea that is dyed red and served to the mother and visiting guests during the postpartum period. Like the Lebanese Aynar, it is said to help milk production in the mother. In the Netherlands, Beschuit met Muisjes is a popular postpartum treat. Rolls are baked twice to become crisp like biscotti, then topped with butter and sprinkles. The sprinkles are anise flavored and are dyed pink for a girl or blue for a boy (or orange for royalty). Many of the recipes I found for postpartum foods included anise, which seems to be used in many areas of the world to promote milk production and healing.
Aynar (Lebanese Spiced Tea)
Adapted from UmmObaidah Cooks
~ 8 cups
8 cups water
6 (2 inch) cinnamon sticks
2 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
1 tablespoon anise seed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Chopped walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts for serving
In a medium saucepan, place water of high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger slices, and anise seeds.
Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer until the tea has become a deep reddish brown, 1 1/2 hours.
Whisk in the sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and strain the tea. Discard the spices.
Add chopped nuts to the bottom of each teacup. Pour in the hot tea and serve immediately.