Archive | Iraq


Kurdish Cuisine… With a Side of Guilt

In the half-dozen trips I’ve taken to Kurdistan, not ONCE have we been able to finish the food on our table, whether we’re a party of two or of 8. Part of the charm and tradition of Kurdish hospitality is cooking and serving too much… that way if others drop by, there’s always some to […]

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Breakfast with the Iraqi Army

It was an early morning: we had loaded up our vehicles before dawn, and drove the 90 minutes through the dusty Ninevah plains to the joint operations center… where Iraqis, Kurds, and Americans are coordinating the Mosul offensive. By sunrise, it was already hot, and flies buzzed around our ears. While we discussed plans for […]

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Quick Snack: The Mosul Offensive

Hot, dusty, dangerous, and sleeping in cars. Thank goodness for MRE’s, dried fruit, and this handy kettle and travel burner. Aside from a puzzling yet delicious “vegetarian sausage breakfast” MRE, there’s not much of note here – just calories and caffeine, pure and simple. Food under fire, in pictures.

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Hiwa’s Do-It-Yourself Dolma Recipe

On the road, a home-cooked meal is an absolute luxury: a respite from the impersonal hotels and convivial but antiseptic restaurants that greet us at the end of each day. In Northern Iraq, we were invited (hooray!) to Hiwa’s house for his casual take on a traditional Middle Eastern dish, dolma.  Now, I knew dolma only as stuffed grape leaves. […]

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(photo by Omar Omar)

Food on the Frontline: Syria and Iraq

Syrian food is fantastic, and as diverse as its neighbors in the Middle East: creamy hummus, fried kibbeh balls stuffed with spiced meat, rice dishes baked in phyllo dough, meatballs glazed in cherry sauce, flatbreads, baklavas, honeyed sweets, tea.  Sadly, none of that was available on the frontline, where the Syrian Kurds faced off with ISIS. […]

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Iraq, the Land of Plenty (of Rice)

Road-tripping through Northern Iraq, I’ve stumbled on some interesting regional specialties amid the kebabs and hummus. In Serchinar Restaurant in Zahko (not far from the Syrian border), a platter of grilled meat was served with endless side dishes, including this bright green concoction I’d never seen before: Turns out it was banana slices served in […]

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Feasting in Iraqi Kurdistan

Being invited into someone’s home when you’re on the road is always the most memorable meal of the trip. In Iraqi Kurdistan, on the road from Erbil to Kirkuk, a local leader had us over for lunch – a multi-course feast prepared by his wife and daughters, and laid out on the floormat by his […]

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