I have finally found out why I don't like some Assyrian food.
Tonight, at a church celebration we had what was for me an almost indelible meal. Usually there are things I like or will eat even if there are some I can't. But tonight it was almost a pass up. There were whole raw salad vegetables consisting of spring onions, parsley and radishes (no dressing). Then boiled pieces of lamb, bread rolls, and some raw pickled veges (mostly cabbage).
I had a bread roll that I dipped in the boiled meat liquid, and a few tiny bits of pickle veg. Luckily I wasn't hungry so I had a legit excuse.
There's nothing like plain boiled meat to make me feel uneasy.
But I found out the reason why they eat it this way - because back in the days in Iraq it was hardly ever fresh:
In the mountains where they lived they would dry the meat for storage. Then all they had to do was whip it into the pot, add water, maybe some vegetables or even put it just with rice, or bulgur wheat - and ta da! Reconstituted.
It still makes me feel ick, but at least now I know why they do this. And the reason why when people ask me if their food is awesome and I can't say absolutely 'yes'.
I also heard more things - that they would store grains in whole cow skins, sewn up and tied at the feet. They left the neck open and this was where you could scoop grain from.
That someone would take the wheat to another village where they had a water mill to grind it. That the summers were busy gathering and drying everything for winter. That they would dry grapevine leaves to make dolma, strung up in a round and hung to dry in the shade.
It sounds kind of lovely in a way. Would I have liked that life? I don't know.