Archive for September 7, 2007

Kidding and Kazakh Food

I had a good phone conversation with my husband just now, my “Kazakh nomad.”  He started by saying, “I’m in New York calling you, I’ve been deported.”  It certainly got my heart racing a bit, but then he said he was kidding.  I should HOPE so! 

Food was a familiar and favorite topic my Kyrgyz students wrote when I taught in Bishkek, Kyrygzstan 14 years ago.  Kazakh food is similar and the following was written in composite form of what they wrote in short essays for me.

I learned the “Dastorkan” is “a tablecloth but there is no such word because people don’t sit around a table to eat.  Instead they spread a large white cloth or dastorkan on the floor in the center of the yurt or outside on the green grass placing soft pillows along the edges…Dastorkan usually begins in the evening and lasts for many hours.”  The main part of this traditional course is “Besh Barneak” which means “five fingers” and is mutton and boiled noodles.  “Monty” is another indispensable food in the Kazak cuisine and very labor intensive.  I had many “monty” parties with my former students where they would finely cut up the mutton, then make dough to wrap and place in a steamer.  Also, “plof” or “plov” is a favorite dish of rice and meat with finely cut carrots and spices.

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