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It was a day of ups and downs. It started off great as I had lots of energy and my mind was ready to work! I cooked my own food for lunch (I get excited to cook my own food because it has less oil in it) and made some coffee in my new French press! Things were going well. I ended work early (which I rarely do) in order to learn how to make lavash from my host mom Sevil. Lavash is the thin flat soft tortilla shells you use to make tacos or burritos. On my way back, I got a blister from my shoe. I proceeded to take off my shoes and walk the quarter of a mile home barefoot on hot hot pavement. There was no shade to be found to walk on. As a result, I burnt the bottom of my feet! I had two huge blisters that made it painful to walk for a few days. As I sat down to relax my feet, I realized I couldn’t find my sweater. I then walked the half mile back to work and walked back home but could not find my sweater. My feet ached. I was sad I lost my sweater, but I had to put all that behind me. It was time to make lavash!

We decided to make lavash which is a laborious process. First of all, you need a big concave steel tin bowl (sorry for the horrible description but just look at the picture). On the inside dipped-part of the big bowl we put a layer of mud. I believe we did this so the heat wouldn’t burn a hole through the bowl. Keeps it ready to use for decades to come! We then put it in the sun for the mud to dry. While it was drying we gathered wood from the yard to build a camp fire. We put three cinder blocks in a triangle, placed the wood in the middle, and started a fire. Once the fire got going, we put the bowl on top to heat it up. Then we kept fanning it throughout the process to keep the fire burning.

While I was desperately searching for my sweater, Sevil had mixed the dough. It’s like any other dough you would make: flour, water, baking powder or soda, and a little salt. Sevil divided the dough into hacksack size pieces and rolled each out with a long stick like rolling pin. Women here have a special way of rolling dough out. The dough needs to be in an almost perfectly round circle and be very thin. Initially she rolled it out like we would with a rolling pin until it was a tea cup plate size. Then she rolled the dough around the stick, gave it a few short back and forth pushes, and finally let it fly off the stick! Doing this actually allows you to have an evenly rolled dough circle.

Once the dough is rolled out thin enough, Sevil draped it over the stick. The next step is to cook it! She drops it on the heated big bowl and lets it sit. We watch it carefully. After about 30 seconds, Sevil shows me the bubbles that are forming in the dough. That’s how you know it is cooking. She then flips the dough so the other side cooks too. When she takes it off the bowl, you can see that each side has a tinge of golden brown where the bubbles formed.

Fresh lavash is the best! It tastes better than any store bought stuff. Unfortunately anything good usually takes a super long time to make! This process is no different; it’s time consuming. To me, it’s like making Christmas cookies. Sure, you can make a batch by yourself, but it’s better with a team—someone to roll out the dough and cut pieces, another person to put them on a sheet and watch the oven, and one more person to decorate.

After making all the lavash, Sevil decided we were going to have a picnic! We moved a small table and brought 2 chairs outside. We didn’t have any gas that day, so she took the tea kettle and put it over the fire. She then went back to the garden and dug up some potatoes which she put over the fire to cook. While the water was heating up and potatoes cooking, we sat down and ate some lavash. We ate it plain. I secretly wished I had hummus to go with it!

That was our dinner—lavash and 2 little potatoes. It was actually filling too. It was a pleasant evening to a somewhat weird day. Though I didn’t really get to sit down until I went to bed and rest my feet. They hurt badly by the end of the day!