Lahmacun, Iraqi flatbread: the best damn thing we’ve eaten lately

Iraqi flat bread

Yes, I can say hand-on-heart this Iraqi flatbread with lamb & veggies was one of the best things I’ve eaten all year! I’ve always loved Middle Eastern food and I do cook it often at home, but this really left both me and my man speechless.

The whole experience was triggered by the fact that some of my colleagues will be travelling for business to Iraq. Everyone started asking the usual questions: is it safe to go to Iraq, how are things over there and so on. The first question on my mind was: what do people eat in Iraq? I have to confess, I didn’t know much about it in particular. My Food Atlas of the World doesn’t say much on Iraq, but Wikipedia came to the rescue. I learned that, along with all the other great things, Mesopotamia was also a land of culinary delights and advancements. They gave us one of the world’s first cookbooks, written on a clay tablet in cuneiform writing: it describes the dishes served during summer festivals. Now, this needed further (practical) investigation!

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A Sunday Roast: rack of lamb

Roasted rack of lamb

Lamb… ah, what a beautiful beast! In my culture, we’re only eating lamb for Easter. Everyone buys a full baby lamb from the butcher and proceeds to their best knowledge and ability. I’m proud to say, in my family we do lamb really well. Yet, this is a very controversial dish- most people (I know) just don’t like lamb. But it’s tradition to eat lamb for Easter (our heavy orthodox, religious customs require it) and people are desperately trying to abide. They either eat and weep or (worse, in my opinion), they try to cover the lamb in spices, pungent flavors and suck out all the lamb goodness. They sometimes even advertise it: do try it, it doesn’t taste like lamb at all! I have devised many comebacks over the years for this stupid remark; these days I’m just content to roll my eyes and say “no, thank you.” My man and I both love lamb and mutton (me more than him, but I sometimes manage to squeeze the mutton on the menu- evil, I know!). And we eat it all year-long, with passion and delight. As a final note (this will sound weird), I noticed that lamb in Romania tastes more lamby than the lamb in Belgium. I have no idea if it has to do with the nutrition of the animal, the breed or whatever…safe to say, I carry frozen lamb in my suitcase when I come back from visiting my parents. Anything to declare, miss? Yes, sir: half a frozen lamb, chopped in pieces and stuck in my luggage! Read More