Best Cookbook of the Year 2016, Gourmand World Cookbook Award
In the autumn of 2009, a grandmother in the village of Mun, in the Ghund valley of the Tajik Pamir Mountains, approached two young researchers and asked them to write down her old recipes. “I want to share them with my children and grandchildren while I still remember what I know,” she said.
Surrounded by her family and neighbours, the conversations about the recipes became a passage into the timeworn traditions of the Pamir Mountains and the rapid changes they now face. Over the following years, her voice was joined by those of many other grandmothers and grandfathers, children, teachers and farmers. Together they are this book: a unique and intimate portrait of the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
With Our Own Hands tells, for the first time, the cultural and agricultural history of the Afghan and Tajik Pamirs, one of the world’s least known and most isolated civilisations. Through the lens of local recipes, one hundred in total, and accompanied by the work of three award-winning photographers, it describes Pamiri food and its origins, people’s daily lives, their struggles and celebrations. In a context where poverty, conflicts and political upheaval have made it difficult for people to express and define their identity, food becomes a powerful tool for its survival.
English Press release about the winning of the Gourmand Cookbook Award here
“This book is as vibrant as the people and recipes it describes, with exquisite, intimate photography decorating almost every page. Recipes are explored through the eyes of the Pamiri people and the history of their homeland, with spellbinding stories of local legends, opium addiction and Soviet influence. Readers will learn that time can be recorded without a clock and that “enough” can be a form of measurement.”
“This book is a stunning masterpiece, in content, design and photography. It will have a life changing impact on local communities, bringing pride through food culture and saving food heritage in real danger of disappearing. It shows the power of books as bridges of friendship and peace.”
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards