The Harvard Foodie of Kurdistan – PART II

You’re back! Hello!

Wait. Did you read part I to this?

How is it that the aroma of the meals you cook in your home kitchen is a reminisces of your Kurdish mother’s food, and it tastes like a Kurdish grandmother’s lunch that has been cooking on gentle heat since 7 am. But you’re a 26-year-old with a Harvard degree, pursuing a career in education?

Have no surprise, it is Alka Aziz here! I somehow came across Alka’s Instagram page and it revolutionised my life.

Alka Aziz, founder of A Kurdish Foodie – Instagram page

From my phone’s screen I could smell Yaprax with all its juiciness with mixed flavours of a little bit of sour and a kick of spice, I could feel the crumbling, melting Kulichay gwez in my drooling mouth and had the instant urge to kneed dough.

The A Kurdish Foodie page became my happy place while in quarantine. I fell in love with the cook behind the screen but had never met her; or known her real name. I wrote her recipes in the prettiest notebook I had labelling each recipe as: A Kurdish Foodie Yaprax, a Kurdish Foodie Kulicha, A Kurdish Foodie Kifta… you get the point.

Alka Aziz, and her grandmother cooking Kurdish food!

A Kurdish Foodie has taught me cooking is love. Cooking is creativity. Cooking is your soul in a meal, salt and pepper are like sprinkles of pieces of your soul into a warm pot to give it the perfect level of love.  Her tribe of almost 16, 000 foodies following on Instagram can testify to this (as do my girl friends’ WhatsApp group). This Harvard graduate says she reclaims her power in the kitchen, for Alka, feeding a family is power.

Alka is a butterfly in her kitchen, food happens smoothly, swiftly, deliciously and of course, beautifully presented. In Alka’s world there cannot be stress around cooking. She is a calm cook. The mission of this Kurdish Foodie is to preserve the culture of Kurdish food, one instagram story at a time. She began as a blog in 2012 with rarely any regular posts (we can all blame the Harvard degree for that). In August of 2019 Alka began posting her recipes on Instagram, with focus on traditional Kurdish foods. Inspired by her grandmother, mother and aunt this young Kurdish woman’s passion for food creation is like pieces of art work.

Alka Aziz, A Kurdish Foodie, with a Harvard degree and a passion to preserve Kurdish food culture and recipes

I follow tens of Kurdish food platforms on social media. This Kurdish Kitchen Intellect from Harvard has simple recipes. I do not need to send my husband four times to the supermarket for a meal that won’t even turn out good because only Holland bazaar has a certain ingredient and its out of stock the day I need it. She has simplified the meals (cooks have a tendency to over complicated boiled eggs), her instagram stories are easy to follow, straight forward, she does not miss a single step and everything is in cups and spoons not grams and handfuls.

She also writes each step in English, Kurdish and the Latini script Kurdish too. My thumb doesn’t go numb while my eyes squint in an attempt to read a paragraph of Kurdish writing one phonic at a time.

Kurdish food by A Kurdish Foodie – Alka Aziz

I cannot say I have become a butterfly in the kitchen, but Alka has been a turning point in my cooking experience (my husband can perhaps testify to this) we have kulcha coming out of our oven, and Sheikh Mahshi going in, nokaw on the stove and bamye off, kalana worthy of selling in Iskan, Brji kurdi with latka nok like one that you’d eat at Kusay Alasher in Slemani’s Sitak, Tashrib made for a King, and lokma swimming in syrup… also, tomorrow gala mew is on the menu.I don’t even know myself anymore.

Ladies and gentleman, thanks to a Kurdish Foodie called Alka Aziz, we have officially conquered the way to a Kurdish man’s heart.

You can visit A Kurdish Foodie’s instagram page here, or email Alka:

Love from My Nest in Kurdistan (and the kitchen!)


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