Winner of the 2016 Best Cookbook of the Year award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
This book tells the story of the Afghan and Tajik Pamir Mountains, the old traditions and rapid changes in people’s lives and the way they interact with the landscape. It is also a book about the origins of food. In the mountainous cradle of one of the world’s least known and most isolated civilizations, many of the foods that are found on Western fields and dinner tables are cultivated and invented in an enduring quest for survival.
Combining stories, essays, recipes, and photography, With Our Own Hands seeks to strengthen the pride of the Pamiri people and excite the curiosity of those who appreciate diversity in food and agriculture, and the role it plays in people’s relationships with nature and with each other. In the mountain valleys of the Pamirs life depends on these relationships, today as much as thousands of years ago, and it is not difficult to discern in Pamiri food the practices, customs, and beliefs that form their most ancient expressions. At the same time, the book describes landscape and cultural changes in response to global forces and developments, and the struggle of Pamiri people to reimagine and recreate their ties with the land and their communities. A process that is as unique in its locality as it is universal in meaning.