I have thought about our children and future grandchildren who will be born in Europe. To them I want to transfer some of our traditional eating culture. Therefore I have put together an Afghan cookbook with traditional recipes.
This book is not only intended for our Afghan children but also for Dutch people who want to try our recipes and who want to know something about our eating culture. At this time people hear for 30 years already about the war in our country and they know hardly anything about our old and delicious recipes and eating culture which has not disappeared because of the years of war.
For us it is customary that all people eat together. The diningtable and the eating together is very important in our country. We serve the food on big platters on the table and the people sit around it and put the food on their own plates like at a buffet. All the children also sit at the table. The person who brings in the meal says:’ bevar ma jin, esh te haaie gub.’ This means: ‘Please and enjoy the meal’.
This is the time that children learn much from their parents and other family members, such as respect for elders and table manners. They learn the customs of the country. Everybody waits with eating until the oldest begins and after that the others and the children are allowed to serve themselves and begin to eat. During the meal it is pleasant being together while everyone talks with others. After the meal the oldest say:’goda ja sjukker’ meaning ‘thank God for this delicious meal’ and they bring together their two open hands to their faces. Then everyone may rise.
Most of our food has been packaged. This means that they have a date showing how long they can be held. It has to be eaten quickly or it must be discarded. Much of what we eat these days has been industrially made. Often it comes in nice packaging that is attractive and easy.
In this book we want to emphasize healthy, unadulterated and locally produced food how you should prepare it and where you can buy the best ingredients. The best is of course if all the ingredients come out of your own garden.
In the Afghan kitchen delicious dishes are prepared and Parwin is a wonderful cook. You will notice this when you try one of her recipes. Not only are the color and the scent attractive, but the manner of serving makes it a feast to get to know the Afghan kitchen. When you enter a store with an Afghan woman to buy basmati rice, you will notice that there are make kinds of basmati rice and that Afghans are very choosy. When you have brought home the right kind of rice, then the manner of soaking the rice in cold water, pouring it off and boiling it, is not an art that you can just do correctly. It is the same way with lamb meat, pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant, , carrots and numerous herbs. I hope that this cookbook will show you that Afghans have an old culinary culture which is important to learn and to know.
The Foundation Ariana Studyfunding for Afghan Women raises money to assist women and girl students in Kabul, Afghanistan. Since March 2008 the Foundation Ariana gives 50 highschool and university students between 15 and 25 years of age a scholarship of 40 Euro per month. The Foundation believes in building and strengthening a well-educated female middleclass.
The previous generation of educated women has largely fled the country because during the shocking regime of the Taliban girls were not allowed to go to school and women were not allowed to work outside the home. The goal of the Foundation is to promote the education of motivated women students who would otherwise not have a chance to begin a study or to complete it, and the emancipation of women in Afghanistan so that they can participate as a well-educated female middleclass in the reconstruction of their country that was terribly destroyed after 25 years of war.
The sale of this cookbook partially benefits the Foundation Ariana.
Ruth de Kanter, president.
Foundation Ariana Study fund for Afghan women. Postgiro 82.45.11 Tegelen
dr. Ruth de Kanter