We are well into the summer wedding season in North America. In many cultures, weddings are associated with particular foods. In Mexico, a spicy lamb stew called birria is the centerpiece of the traditional wedding meal. The English serve fruitcake as their wedding dessert. In Italy, five sugar-covered almonds known as Italian confetti or Jordan almonds are given to guests as favors. The almonds symbolize happiness, longevity, health, prosperity, and fertility.
In my community, the traditional wedding dish is beef biryani. The meal is finished with ladoos (sweet chickpea balls) and gathiya (savory deep fried chickpea dough). In addition to food, sherbet (a rose-flavored milk drink) is traditionally served at weddings, engagements, and other celebratory events. This sweet beverage is thought to augur a sweet marriage. It is easy to make and keeps for several days (without the nut garnish).
6 cups whole milk
1/2 can (7oz) sweetened condensed milk
2-3 teaspoons rose water or a few drops of rose essence
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-6 drops red food color
finely chopped almonds and pistachio for garnish
1. In a large pitcher combine the first five ingredients. Use a long spoon to mix well. Adjust rose, vanilla, and food color as desired.
2. Pour into 6 to 10 glasses. Garnish with nuts and serve.