The Harvard Foodie of Kurdistan – PART I

Hello there!

The Corona Virus has become the world’s biggest social experiment; testing marriages, relationships, family dynamics, patience and effects of loneliness. It has also revealed a Kurdish husband’s cooking potential, a human being’s ability to open the same fridge 30 times in 25 minutes; revolutionised our perception of the sacred job of hair dressers; and exposed  humans’ inability to listen to government instructions even if their life and the life of their loved ones depended on it.

Most importantly, it has unveiled effects of a complete lockdown on Sazan Mandalawi’s ability to become a cook, overnight, after 30 years.

Photo: By Kurdish cook, Alka Aziz, A Kurdish Foodie

Since the day I said I do and left my parent’s house in a white dress the worst question of every morning has been: And what do I cook today?

The issue has always been simple: I don’t like cooking, but I also don’t like eating out. I love inviting people to our place. But I certainly don’t love cooking. Yes, when you put it that way it is quite a sticky situation.

Photo: By Kurdish cook, Alka Aziz, A Kurdish Foodie

I’ve just been extremely lucky my husband’s best friends are all gym people who eat salad and boiled chicken 6 times a week. On Friday’s they eat at their parent’s house for lunch, and have their cheat meal with us in the evening (I could always bake 12 cakes in an afternoon, and create something you’ll eat your fingers after out of kitchen basics: butter, sugar and Nutella).

Photo: By Kurdish cook, Alka Aziz, A Kurdish Foodie

As for my own family and friends spoil, me with their meals instead.

Time passed by. Basic pasta became my go-to recipe after Sawar and rice. Then we progressed and fettuccine became the Michelin meal that came out of my kitchen (when I realised you can just add store bought cream instead of tomato puree).

Things changed. They changed suddenly. Overnight. Just like the arrival of Covid_19.

— to be continued —

Love from My Nest in Kurdistan



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