Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nan - Afghan bread

Just got back from the translators' office late this afternoon after saying bye before they left for the day. I drop in frequently and was offered a cup of tea, as Afghans usually do when guests arrive. The tea was warm and refreshing. They've made it a point of teaching me some of their language so I can greet them and further educate myself on their culture.

I say "their" culture because these are Afghan-Americans, born and raised in Afghanistan whose families fled their homes when the Russians came. They were hired to help translate Afghan language news to English. These are not the only translators on base, there are many.

I bring up nan because I have had occasion to enjoy the bread while visiting their office. The group has invited me to eat with them when they are able to get local food brought in by their friends. It is infrequent, so a treat when it happens. I have sampled their lamb and chicken dishes when cooked by the locals.

Today, I was treated to a gift from the translators. When I arrived, they pointed to a small piece of nan left over from lunch. They said it was for me, so I nodded, said thank you - tashakur- and proceeded to grab it. They stopped me and laughed. The small piece was not for me, the big piece you see in the picture was for me, it was hidden by a piece of newspaper. Seems they each had a piece for lunch and decided to save one for me. I told them I would eat a piece of it and save the rest. They again laughed and said once I started eating it, I wouldn't be able to stop. They weren't kidding. As I write this post, I ate it! And yes it was good!
Teachers: If you are from a diverse area like I am, ask your students about their culture and any foods they eat that are similar to nan/naan. Look up its recipe and compare it's ingredients to their foods. Afghanistan is considered SW Asia, why? Have your students research the many cultures in Asia, what do the people look like - their similarities and differences.


  1. I've always seen it spelled "naan". Have you seen the oven they bake the bread in? Just a hole in the ground. And they slap it against the sides, then pull it out with a long hook. Reminds me of pizza dough.

    Oh, You've been added to my list of daily reads. Thanks for giving us your take and lessons while in the Suck...

    Take care!

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