Afghanistan-A-Go-Go

A Reservist's Tale Of A Tour

The Food… The Food!

with 8 comments

Our regular meals are provided for us by the DFAC – the local term for what Canadians often call the BARFF or just the mess. Most here are 24/7, at my particular camp they’re only open on set hours, but there’s not a big problem with getting access. Each meal time is about 2 hours long.

Last night, however, we had a little ceremony to welcome new arrivals (myself included) and wish farewell to those headed home. For those of you who laugh at how many medals and ribbons Americans sport, you’d have found it priceless. Almost everyone got some bling, including a Bronze Star. Following that we headed to the Afghan Restaurant here for dinner. What a feed. I think I’ll be going there with some regularity.

Dinner started with Bolani, a sort of stuffed flatbread that is sometimes referred to as “Afghan Pizza”, as well as naan/footbread and a spicy chutney. My dinner was qabili palauw, a sort of rice pilaf with carrots and raisins, which was excellent. It came served with some grilled beef as well. Following that, out came the mandatory chai, and much conversation followed, getting to know everyone, discussing leave plans, what people leaving are doing when they get home, etc. It reinforced the sort of family atmosphere that is part of making things work here.

Needless to say, I staggered back to my shacks absolutely stuffed.

Written by Nick

February 29, 2012 at 8:18 am

8 Responses

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  1. That food sounds great – I’ve never tried Bolani before. Should definitely give it a go.

    If you hear of any good Afghan writers while you’re out there, I’d love to hear about them – could do with some more suggestions for A Year of Reading the World (http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/). Good luck

    londonchoirgirl

    February 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

    • I’ve only run across Khaled Hosseini (who wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns) – both are worth reading. I actually read them to help get a feel for the place before I got here, because apparently, despite being fictional tales, they capture a lot of the experience of Afghans, and it seems reasonable in the context of the history, etc. As far as Bollani goes, it’s simple and delicious. I eat for free in the DFAC here but I can see spending a few bucks from time to time there!

      Nick

      February 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

      • Interesting – thanks. Eat well.

        londonchoirgirl

        February 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

      • Meals are one of those things I’m trying to set up to look forward to and get a routine going. I’ve got a lot of time here, and anything that gives structure to it will be good, surely!

        Nick

        February 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

  2. My fave restaurant here in Toronto is Bamiyan Kabob. We used to live right across the street from it, but still make a point of trekking across town during the summer to feast. So good.

    Radical Centrist

    February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    • There used to be an Afghan place out on the Danforth that I went to a few times, but even then, it’s not the same as here I suspect.

      Nick

      February 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

  3. I would do anything to eat with my Afghan counterparts as a means of getting good tasting food and of building good relations. This worked on both accounts.

    Some of my peers would do anything to avoid an Afghan meal and the dreaded gut rot.

    Eating in an Afghan Mess in your camp is probably good to go and you’ll get your gut rot from breathing the air or something else.

    Training an army is way more than teaching soldiers how to shoot bad guys. I have a picture from my tour of the Afghan Army cook sitting with bare feet on the table he has piled with raw meat for the days meal. I would point out that at least he now had a stainless steel table top to prepare food on.

    Measuring success on the mission comes in so many ways, improving army food services, improves soldier health. Improved soldier health that comes with regulations for food harvesting, delivery and preparation eventually filters into the community to improve the health of all Afghans.

    Enjoy your gastronomical experiences Nick!

    Ross

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    • One of the guys from the team I was originally on went up to the ANA DFAC up the hill from us and said he was horrified by the sight of the kitchen, but it was only after he’d eaten up there that he saw it, and last I heard he didn’t get any adverse effects. There’s no ANA mess where I am, but there’s a “restaurant” that is excellent.

      Nick

      March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm


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