Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Re-Education of Amy King

So, my host family has decided, after the Spaghetti incident (see previous blog entry) that they should educate me on how to make food. I DO know how to make food, but just not Azeri food. Anyways, I learned the other night how to make dolma, one of the big dishes in Azerbaijan. It is like stuffed cabbage, only better. I have devoured the stuff many times here.

I basically watched Sevink make it, cringing sometimes at the un-sanitary aspects of cooking here, but it hasn't killed me yet, has it? I have decided to take the Stephanie Rosenberg approach to eating, anything that hasn't made me sick before is fair game, and to try everything once. However, cooking with Sevinj made me realize that some things you just dont want to know. That phrase has always bothered me before, only making me curious as to what the think I didn't want to know was, but here, some things are you REALLY just don't want to know.

Anyways, I helped wrap the dolma in the grape leaves and the cabbage. Sevinj's were these tight little balls and mine were these messy lumps of food with meat spilling out the edges. I realize, that in cooking, I have a portion control issue, and am working on that. I always use too much spaghetti or too much cupcake batter in the tin, this time it was too much meat in the cabbage leaf. I am a cooking glutton. Anyways, Sevinj was encouraging, but Adigozel and Atash, the 27-year old relative living at our house, both laughed at my attempt. When I invited them to make the dolma, they said they already knew how to make it that I needed to learn, and walked away laughing. I thought that was very George King-esque.

Anyways, life here is going well, we had a pancake breakfast at my house today (it was GLORIOUS) and I am starting to get the hang of living here. It still surprises me that cows and sheep basically walk me to school (Fuzzy-style) and that at some parts of the day, which parts we do not know, we may not have water or electricity. I love the fact that I am buddies with the Doner Kebob seller and the lady who runs the corner market. I have an outdoor toilet and I think it's a great toilet, but when I have to go at 3am, it's not so great and pretty cold.

I love the people here. They are so friendly, and we get stopped constantly by people asking us who we are and what we are doing here (in a good way). We had an English conversation club the other day which went really well. About fifteen 16/17 year-old kids showed up, we spoke in english the whole time, and afterwards we all had to take pictures with them one by one so they can show their friends. Apparently we are the talk of the school, but try to stay as inconspicuous as possible, which is pretty hard.

I have officially been here for a month and a week exactly and haven't regretted the decision once.


  1. Is it portion size, or conformance issues? An arguement could be made for either stance.There is also that very big part of you that believes that if nothing spills, it's not really cooking.
    Love and miss you.

  2. you make friend with ever kebab seller you meet. There's no surprise there.

    messy cooking is something I expect of you. Show them how you make cookies and maybe then they'll think your dolma is neater.