Monday, May 14, 2007

Breadmaking in Northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey

You're walking down the street and suddenly realize there's the loud and throaty "whoosh" of gas flame amplified and modulated by the bell of a tandoor or khubz oven. The oven top glows orange. And two or three young men are hard at work making bread.



The entire process seemed so mysterious to me. This pair invited me in to see how they made their bread. I didn't want to ruin their work or get in their way. They couldn't speak English, but they made it clear to me that I was welcome to take as many pictures as I wanted. . . .




So the guy in gray is forming lumps of dough.


When he has finished forming a complete batch . . .


. . . he brings the lumps over to the other side of the shop, one at a time . . .


. . . where he then shapes them onto a large, inverted-bowl shaped utensil.


He then slaps the flattened dough onto the inside of the oven itself.



The dough sticks to the inside of the oven as it bakes.



When the bread is finished, the baker then reaches in with tongs . . . pulls out each disk . . .


. . . and tosses it on top of the oven to cool.

. . . When done, you get to enjoy a delicious, crispy, chewy, pizza-crust-like substance.


Take a close look at the working conditions--the clothes these guys are wearing, where they place their hands: You realize we're not talking a highly hygienic work environment. But, y'know, . . . I pretty well survived on this stuff for most of the time I was in Iraq.

After I suffered some kind of major digestive attack, I was thrilled for this kind of bread.

Bread, pure bottled water (if you could get it), and/or . . . Coca-Cola! --What more could a guy ask for?


Ahh! The pause that refreshes . . . and that you know (or, at least, strongly suspect) will keep you from suffering further gastro-intestinal distress!
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