I am greeting you from Azerbaijan today after some silence.
This post would be devoted to bread.
Not sure if I wrote about this before but bread is one of the cherished or should I say "respected" if not the most "respected" product in Azerbaijan cuisine and culture.
What does that imply? It means that e.g. if you are in Sheki then you would see that the first thing that is taken away from the table once lunch or dinner is over is bread. Bread is not supposed to be left on the table or around to dry. If one drops a piece of bread it must be picked up immediately. Some people would kiss it and put it on their eyes as ritual to show respect. We do not put old bread together with other waste but collect it separately so that it could be picked up by someone who would give it to his/her poultry (if thats in the region); if in Baku bread pieces would be collected separately.
Bread has a notion of prosperity and abundance. Prosperity and abundance that it would bring to the family, household, land.
During our childhood we as girls would always help of course setting the table and clearing it after and would always hear older people reminding us that we should first take away bread. Hearing and seeing all this one grows with a "special feeling" to bread. Another thing is that childhood has memories of grannies that would be baking bread in təndir (tandoori) and this memory has also a fantastic smell of baked bread. I don't think I can explain that smell. And you all probably know it anyway. I think this is one of the things that every childhood should have. Memory of granny that is baking bread, smell of that bread, crisp of that bread and its beautiful taste. Taste that would stay with you forever.
There is a story that I would be told about my late grandfather Mammadiyya; they say that he would buy bread and go home and on the way share the bread with many children playing around. Finally when he would reach home he would have seen that there wasn't much bread left. I guess my granny would be sure to have bread at home if she baked one of her own. :)
With all these stories and memories I grew up with love to delicious bread. Nowadays when all talks are about calories and weight and since I am not also a teenager and calories do matter one always has a second thought before deciding to eat or not to eat.
Well when its holiday and its Sheki and its təndir bread then the answer for me often is to eat.
Around eight years ago I discovered bread culture of Germany and France for the first time and I must admit I enjoy their bread as much.
Below pictures are of this summer: one taken in Azerbaijan, one in France. Its not only tasting the bread that I love but also going and getting fresh one in the morning or during the day...personally.
Wishing you prosperity, praying for those whose land is not in peace but war.
Salam, zəhmət olmasa bir dənə çörək verin. (Hello, one bread please...in Azerbaijani)
Bonjour. Une baguette s'il vous plaît. (Hello, one bread please...in French)