Monday, April 1, 2013

Day A: Amba, and a few Iraqi hunches

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.

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Deliciousness doesn't always ask for a complicated meal. The streets of Iraq can testify to this. They have witnessed the phenomena that a simple amba sandwich can be capable of.

Amba- mango pickle enhanced with salt, vinegar, mustard and chilli- is a popular feature in many Iraqi cuisine dishes. But sometimes, all it takes is a traditional diamon-shaped samoon, stuffed with amba slices, tomatoes, and egg, and you're good to go.

Source

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Every country has its share of suspicions, and the people of Baghdad are no different.

To Baghdadis, an itch in the right hand signals a coming wealth, an itch on the cheek tells you a loved one will kiss you soon, an itch on the nose means you're having fish for dinner, and an itch in the right foot means somebody, somewhere, is talking about you.

If a new neighbour makes it to your area, every surrounding house gets a chance to cook them a meal each day for a week. This is meant to give your neighbours time to settle down without worrying about cooking.

To Iraqis, old is gold. It is very rude not to stand up in respect when a person older than you enters the room. It's also traditionally not acceptable to cross your legs, smoke, or chew gum in front of them, and this applies to your father or older brother too.

Rules and customs mean everything in Iraq, and although time has changed things and relaxed many of these rules, the essence of a closed-knit society where everybody is responsible for everybody else's well-being remains in our culture forever.

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21 comments:

  1. I have heard about itchy palms meaning money is coming. I am looking forward to your posts.

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  2. Haha, the next time I start itching, I'm probably going to be sitting down to analyse it and all the possibilities it brings ^_^

    & I love the respect our cultures demand for elders, especially for parents and teachers. It's... just nice.

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  3. No wonder my nose is always so itchy. That sandwich looks really good!

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  4. Hi Ghadeer .. the thought of your Amba samoon - sounds delicious .. and then cooking for your new neighbour ... what a good idea. Love the respect for the old too ..

    Your posts will be so informative .. cheers Hilary

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  5. Pickled mango! Oh yum! And respecting the elderly, I think that is definitely something missing in many western societies. There is wisdom that comes with age that many youths do not accept.

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  6. My neighbor, a great cook, but not Iraqui, gave us a jar of mango pickles. Delisicous. I look forward to more about Iraq.

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  7. I am not a fan of mango, but this dish certainly sounds interesting. Good luck with the challenge! I participated last year and had a blast!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  8. Oh, that looks good. In California, with immigrants from all over the world, we have all kinds of delicious dishes served in restaurants, but I don't recall seeing this sandwitch. Interesting to learn about Iraqi food.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

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  9. The kind of respect that requires you to stand up for the elderly applies to out culture too. And wheneever a neighbor shifts in, it's usual for everyone to prepare meals for them for a whole week so they can focus on settling in and generally feel welcomed.

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  10. I like the look of that sandwich. It's made my mouth water. I've always been told that if your ear burns it means someone is talking about you. I love the idea of cooking for a newcomer. So welcoming.

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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  11. Never heard of pickled mango, but it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing a bit of your culture too. It's very interesting.

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  12. I love the tradition of standing up when your elders enter a room. I guess it's a tradition of respect, which I think all cultures should embrace! Can't wait to learn more of the Iraqi culture :)

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  13. I love learning about new foods and spices. Thanks for sharing. In our children's school they had the same rule of respect, too. I think it's great.
    Jenn @Scribbles From Jenn

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  14. I love learning about other customs. My nose has been itchy so I guess there will plenty of fish for dinner soon. Happy Day One of the Challenge!

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  15. All of this is so interesting. Thank you for sharing your culture with all of us.

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  16. Oh i have tried it and it is yummy :)

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  18. What a lovely tradition - cooking for a new neighbour. Over here in NZ we are happy to say "Hi" to strangers we pass on the road and to a few neighbours. Looking forward to all your posts on A to Z.

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  19. I want to taste that sandwich... and that tradition is so considerate and sweet, I think I will start that tradition once I move in to my own house lol.

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