Saturday, October 18, 2008

Country Challenge - Afghanistan


As I was browsing thru the cookbooks at the library, I found one called “Afghan Food and Cookery”. I picked it up right away because right now, I believe many people associate Afghanistan with war and terrorism. However, there is an amazing history and culture in the country, including a delicious and interesting cuisine, and that is what I like to focus on, the people, the tradition, and the food.

Afghanistan is located in such a place that many armies through the centuries have stormed through, leaving their impression on the culture. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, Babur, and the British have all invaded Afghanistan, and sometimes stuck around for a few years!

Afghanistan is also situated on the Silk Routes, which meant traders traveled thru the country, leaving Indian spices, Chinese Teas, and many other ingredients that have influenced the country.

Hospitality is extremely important in Afghan culture, and guests are treated very well. Meals are eaten on the floor on cushions and pillows. Usually there are large platters of rice and many different condiments are laid out, such as chutney, pickled vegetables, and breads. It is traditional to eat with your right hand, and no silverware is used, except for nan (unleavened bread).

Through all of my reading, I found many pieces of literature that discussed grapes, which grow extremely well in Afghanistan; a few other common and popular ingredients are pomegranate, cilantro, chickpeas, onions, eggplant, and yogurt.

All information paraphrased from “Afghan Food and Cookery” by Helen Saberi.


Courtney said...

Can't wait! My little brother was there for 8 months, so I'm really interested to see what you make!

Kelly said...

I'm glad you pictured this country. How fun. We have an afghan restaurant near me that I've been meaning to try. I think it's great how many different countries you've visited through your cooking. Do you find it's helped you to explore different flavor combos that might be more unexpected in the US?

Cate said...

Very cool...can't wait to see what you make!