Thursday, 20 December 2007

The culinary delights of Central Asia

I have received further communication from Major Fortescue-Trouserbugle, stating "Enjoyed yer vignette-thingy of life in Tashkent. Got any more amusin' anecdotes from that trip?"

Funnily enough, yes I have. Some colleagues from our office there took me out to lunch at a courtyard restaurant famous for its plov - a rice dish not dissimilar to pilaf/pulao for the good reason that they are all regional variations on the same theme. The restaurant featured a number of enormous iron cauldrons on brick hearths over open fires, each one containing a different variety of plov and capable of holding 100kg of rice at a time.

My colleagues order for me. The meal begins. We chat happily about this and that until suddenly, and a propos of nothing, one of my colleagues - a charming Khwarazmian lady - asks me "Do you like horses?". I am baffled by the question but assume it has something to do with the locals all being the descendants of steppe nomads and what-not, so I give a non-commital reply along the lines of "Yes, they're, erm, quite nice I suppose. Why do you ask?"

"Because you have not yet asked what it is you are eating."

1 comment:

No Good Boyo said...

In truth, it's a principle of nomad life that you shouldn't eat anything that you can't ride, and vice versa. You'll notice how bow-legged the Sarts are, and it's not all due to my extra-curricular exercise either. Certainly not among the men. Carry on.