While being a Portland jeweler is my passion and I enjoy being able to provide beautiful wedding rings and other jewelry pieces to the people of Portland – I am also quite fond of cooking. I wouldn’t say it’s a regular hobby of mine, but it is certainly a skill I have and use frequently.
My ancestral roots are not as firmly planted as some people, I’m sure, but I do identify with Russia and the Central Asian countries where I grew up and where my family’s ancestors have lived for generations.
I was born and raised in Uzbekistan, in Tashkent, the capital city. This is a unique area because of it’s location connecting East Asia, Central Asia, Russia, India, and Europe. It was along the silk road route and as such as a rich history in everything, including cuisine.
This is purported to be where roadside grilling and to-go food first originated as chefs set up cook fires along the caravan routes to barter fresh hot food with the travelers and their new merchandise.
Like many other cultures, perhaps because it stems from some common history, it is tradition that women cook the everyday meals, while men cook for the events, celebrations, and special occasions.
There is a popular book in Russia for men interested in learning how to cook. Here is a great quote from the author, Stalic Khankishiev:
“That is the reason why so many men are mostly outdoors chefs rather than home chefs. To be honest, such outdoors cooking activities (or “weekend cooking”) are certainly men’s business. …on a perfect summer day, go to the local market to choose and buy the right ingredients from familiar butchers, greengrocers and herbs grocers, then sharpen the knives, cut the meat, split firewood, lay a fire, cook a shashlik [like a shish kabob] and invite the friends to enjoy it? No way, dear ladies! We have to lift the burden of these activities off of your shoulders. Please leave it to us, before it’s too late!”
In Central Asia, men BBQing is a big deal. In fact, there are big competitions and large cash prizes for the winners of such contests. Not so different from the U.S., is it?
I also have my own traditional with cooking and diet that I’ve been following for the last decade and that’s the Eat Right for Your Blood Type. I have Type O blood and therefore have the oldest diet of lean meats and little grain.
I remember when I first started eating this way so many years ago. I wasn’t overweight but I immediately dropped the extra 10 pounds I had been carrying around for a while, and that was without any exercise. It was enough for me to keep it up over the years and it works well for me.
Most often, the cooking that I do is for my family. I enjoy BBQ, as I’ve mentioned, but also rice with lamb, chicken soup, baked yams, etc. Taking the time for something as important as food, I believe, sends a great message of love to our family and friends that we share it with.
During this month especially, as Americans, myself included, celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I thought about the importance of food and family. I hope you enjoy your feasting and celebrating this year.
Dedicated to being your jeweler,
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