Golden grains of land
Have you had an occasion to hear the person, who upholding his innocence or giving a promise that is of principal and vital importance for him, confirmed his words with oath вЂњI swear by potato!вЂќ or вЂњI swear by cucumber!вЂќ. So, from time immemorial, it became the custom for people to swear by their dearest things вЂ“ health of relatives and bread.
The Turkmen were always quite indifferent to gold, precious stones and other unessential for them expensive trinkets, which served for others as a symbol of prosperity. Faithful horse and golden wheat вЂњak bugdayвЂќ served as a measure of sufficiency for the Turkmen. An episode engraved for the whole life from far childhood: there is a crust of bread on the pavement left by someone. A venerable elder bended under load of years is walking. It is difficult to move for him; but he will surely come and pick up this small crust of bread and put it on eminence. It is the unshakeable law dictated by honor of hard labor of fellow-farmers built in genes of the Turkmen. Even today, in the epoch of sufficiency and welfare, you will never see any biscuit, any thrown pie and of course, bread in the streets of the Turkmen cities.
In all times, many people associated the Turkmen land not only with the huge Garagum desert, camels and merciless heat, but also with the unusual hospitality of the residents of this sunny land. When at the end of the twenties of the last century, many oblasts of Russia had bad harvests. After that, famine struck these provinces. The question where to go in order to subsist and survive arose before thousands of families. Someone told about going to Ukraine, others mentioned about Transcaucasia, but it was frequently called Central Asia, first of all Turkmenistan. Those, who arrived that time to Ashgabat with children and remembering with gratitude that salvational period, told that their first and brightest impression was the pile of golden flat cakes, which were sold by women in bazaars. After famine, it was a sudden abundance! It is impossible to forget, remove from memory the taste and smell of hot, fragrant Turkmen bread вЂ“ chorek! Chorek was and remains to be the most favorite delicacy even today. No hamburger or sandwich with red caviar can equal chorek.
There is a large number of bread varieties in the world created owing to fantasy of bakers. It is possible to add into the bread various spices: caraway seeds, cinnamon, olives, mustard, sunflower seeds and other flavouring ingredients and change its color and shape. These are culinary embellishments; but nevertheless, hot ones from the stove or from tamdyr are the tastiest.
Tamdyr or clay oven is indispensable attribute of any rural house; and not of rural only. It is possible to see a round clay oven in the yards of metropolitans as well.
By the way, when you go home from work or simply walk over the city, you are stirred by fragrant smell of hot bread, wafting from the yard, where women perform solemn cooking ritual near tamdyr, you can freely call on. Nobody and never will refuse to treat the tastiest, freshly baked chorek to you.
Vladimir Zarembo, journalist