Friday, April 30, 2010
The fresh scent of Sangak bread
Persians are more than a part of my life, they are now a part of my soul. I have been blessed to be part of a Persian family. Persian traditions have become a part of my daily life and I am not sure how I ever lived without them, its as if I was born into the wrong family. I must admit - my Farsi is horrible but I am working on it and someday I will truly be able to communicate like a real Persian. So, today I will introduce you to Sangak. It is a bread made in a stone hearth and it is one of the most amazing tasting breads you will ever come across.
This is the Story of the Bread Masters of the Sangak by: Ali Moayedian. Every morning when we woke up, there it was; fresh Sangak bread from the local bakery. My father, who is in his 80s, and still faithfully taking care of his children, would walk to the bakery every morning and buy the fresh bread for us. The sight of fresh Sangak was but one of the things that made our last August trip to Iran a memorable.
Sangak is one of the main traditional breads in Iran. It is made in a gas fired brick oven. The baker, called Shater in Iran, will mix make the dough every day and usually makes the bread three times daily starting in the early mornings.
During our previous trip to Iran in summer of 2002, I had paid a visit to the local bakery with my father and taken pictures from the place and the Shater. This time around, equipped with a better camera, I mentioned to my father that we should take more pictures from the bakery. And without wasting any time, the next morning he had promised the Shater that I'd be there to take pictures J And from that day on, my father pressed me every day that we should go do it. But somehow things wouldn't work out and I kept pushing the plan to the next day.
As we kept closer to our departure date, my father kept reminding me every day about the photo shoot. He was really worried the Shater may become unhappy with him. And believe me you want to be in good standing with high profile people like the Shater in Iran. When it comes to Sangak, one cannot take these things lightly as it is one of the critical lifelines for the Iranians. What we are talking about is a steady and high quality flow of Sangaks, and with occasional splashing of sesame seeds!!
So finally I gave in and the last day of our trip we made the historical visit to the Sangak bakery. It seemed time hadn't moved since my last trip there five years earlier. The faithful Shater was still going and going. While in our high tech jobs we keep jamming more transistors on chips every year, and we keep shrinking the geometries, the Sangak was still the same old Sangak. It hadn't grown or shrunk. But the looks and the aroma were still as great as ever.
I chatted with the Shater a bit too. He said his name is Hassan Sabahi (I hope I have it right since I waited so long to write this). He then said, very proudly, that recently they had shot videos of his bakery to show abroad. But since he was really busy, I had to minimize the interruption. I took some pictures which I promised him to publish them on the internet. We then left happily with a few fresh Sangaks which I can promise you we put to good use with feta cheese and sour cherry jam J As they say in Iran: "wish you were there too!"
In loving memory of Iraj Entezari - Love you Daddy... You are always in my heart.