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Arts and Culture

Land of War and Honey

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Posted on Apr 1, 2011
Flickr / ainudil (CC-BY-SA)

Women traverse a street in Baghdad in December 2009.

By Christina Asquith

This review is from a syndication service of The Washington Post.

For the scores of journalists and aid workers who poured into Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the terrible food in Baghdad’s hotels was a shock—greasy minced meat, mayonnaise-soaked vegetables and an obsession with Pepsi. But the story of the occupation and insurgency was so intense that most visitors spent little time worrying about what they put in their mouths. Thankfully, freelancer Annia Ciezadlo, who arrived in the fall of 2003 for a yearlong reporting stint, became obsessed with Iraq’s food and trekked across its gastronomic desert. In “Day of Honey,” she delves into how the 25-year dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and a decade of U.N. sanctions drove Iraq’s best recipes underground.

 

book cover

 

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War

 

By Annia Ciezadlo

 

Free Press, 382 pages

 

Buy the book

Her epicurial tour cracks open a different Iraq. She looks into its dusty cookbooks, explores its coffeehouses and savors the foods of its many regions and religious sects. Her book is full of more insight and joy than anything else I have read on Iraq. Some tidbits are fascinating. For example, she tells us that the world’s oldest known recipe was written on three clay tablets in southern Mesopotamia in 1600 B.C.

Skirting the politics, hotel food and headline-grabbing violence, Ciezadlo spills the secrets of this region so rich in history as if they were spices from a burlap sack. Her writing is at times so moving that you want to cry for countries destroyed, but she writes with such wisdom that you don’t fret over the future of these 4,000-year-old civilizations. It’s a shame that the hundreds of journalists, aid workers and pundits who dominate the discussion of Iraq and Lebanon rarely stop to delight in the countries’ beauty.

Christina Asquith, who covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is author of “Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq.”

(c) 2011, Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, April 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

I will review neither the book, nor the book review. However, a
comment about the title seems appropriate to me.

The War element is consistently continuing, while honey is
consistently decreasing. 

The contamination of plants, their blossoms, the soil, and rivers
into which crop-fields drain, by the demonic creations of the
Monsanto pollution company, continues to damage honey bees. They
become confused, can´t find their way home, and simply die. Similar
behavior in humans who have taken statin drugs for many years, is
reported by former astronaut, Dr. Dwayne Graveline, MD, MPH. In his
Homepage, http://www.spacedoc.net  Dr. Graveline and additional, brave
associates explain the statin drug fraud, and quite extensively.

The poisons in the GeneModified seeds and plants cause a reaction in
bees that is similar to the reaction caused in humans by the
fraudulent statin drugs. The damaging side reactions of either is
much worse than the condition that is supposed to be treated - - .

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By gerard, April 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Another similar attempt to try to make “gastronomic amends” for war is found in “Peace Meals,” by Anna Badkhen, to portray “straightforward acts of hlumanity in lands of terror, conflict, and seemintly intractable grief” proving that “there is more to war than the macabre ... the myriad brazen, congenial, persistent ways in which life in the most forlorn and violent places on earth shamelessly reasserts itself.”
  As tangled as that sentence is, it reveals an appaling truth—that the same “congenial, persistent ways” life uses to “reassert itself” could just as well appear without the violence.
  The first step would be for large numbers of determined human beings to “reassert themselves in congenial, persistent ways” and outlaw war in a “myriad brazen, congenial, persistent ways.”  It can be done.  Phase One:  Christians and Muslims sit down together and share a peanut butter sandwich together in honor of bone-skinny African babies and send the “peace meal” you didn’t eat to the Congo or Zaire.

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