Sunday, January 21, 2007

Terp Chow

About 3-4 times a week we eat at the interpreter chow hall. The food is actually quite delicious. Here's a photo spread of the experience.

The chow hall is in a B-Hut. I don't know that the "B" stands for, but that's it in the background.

Here are the cooks preparing today's meal. Today was beans in a delicious sauce, lamb, rice, vegetables and oranges for dessert.

Here's the vegetable trays being prepared. They consistenly have sliced cabbage as a bed for sliced radishes, white radishes, red onions, jalepeno's and cold french fries (they're actually really good.) Merrill slices up everything on the veggiee tray and puts it on his rice. By the time Wais and I are done eating (and I've already sliced my stuff), Merrill still hasn't finished preparing his feast.

There's Wais in the middle and Merrill in the far back corner with his back to us.

Here's what's on the table. The vegetable trays, the rice dish (it has julienned carrots and raisins in it - it's delicious!) naan (flat bread), in this photo the meat is in a separate dish but it's usually buried under the rice, sodas and oranges. Some days there is a separate bowl of some vegetable; usually cauliflower, sometimes steamed spinach, potatoes, beans. Other than the spinach, it's all quite good. They've been putting yogurt on the table and while I ate it once (in the ANA chow hall), I was told that it was prepared from tap water so I avoid that from now on.

Merrill, CPT Steve Curtis and me in the far corner "breaking bread" together. As always, the food was excellent.

I forgot to mention, this is the same kind of food we eat in the ANA chow hall. The only problem there, the quality is not as good. The rice is plain, not that that's bad, but the carrots and raisins give it a really flavorful and colorful appeal and that is absent in the ANA chow hall. The meat is similar but of lesser quality. No veggie tray but you will get hot vegetables. Same naan - I love the naan. Everything is served family style so many a spoon is being dipped into the plates, the same plate that you dip your spoon into. Afghan custom is to have one washcloth on the table for everyone to wipe their hands on, use as a napkin. I usually avoid that little custom. Something about too many hands. Both tables will also have pictures of tap water - avoid the tap water, and one community glass. However there's a big difference.

If you're late to the terp chow hall, you still get your very own plates of food. If you're late to the ANA chow hall, the server will take half-eaten plates and scrape what's on the plates on to one plate and hand it to you. Yum!!!

Remember the community wash cloth. Well we usually ignore it but everyone uses it in the ANA chow hall, in fact it gets passed around and everyone wipes their hands, faces, etc. on it. When it comes to me I gingerly pass it on.

Oh last thing, they don't really use forks or knives much. It's all about the large spoon. They'll use a fork or knife to cut things but the meat is usually tender enough that you can use the edge of the spoon to cut up the meat. The knife is typically used to peel an extremely overripe apple or orange. The fork, if there is one, is used to scoop food onto your spoon. I've become a spoon man after eating there. You get alot more food in a spoon than you do on a fork.

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