At the centre of one of the Earth’s harshest environments, on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, two cookbook authors have found “a profoundly human place”.
The ambitious project began in 2009, when PhD student Jamila Haider and her co-author, Dutch ethno-botanist Fredrik van Oudenhoven, met while working in Tajikistan. They instantly discovered a mutual love for the Pamir region and a mutual anxiety for its future. While working on development projects, both scientists had seen the erosion of Pamiri traditions firsthand, with foreign food being favoured over ancestral recipes and young people leaving the mountains without plans to return.
The day after their first meeting, the two scientists came across an elderly grandmother while exploring the village of Mun in the Ghund Valley of the Tajik Pamirs. The woman recounted the recipes of her childhood and explained the importance they held for her and the Pamiri people. These recipes had only ever been passed down orally from generation to generation.
More at the source: BBC – Travel – Afghanistan’s enigmatic food secret