Laghman For Our Vegetarian Kaz. Princess
I am on a felt food kick. I also can't stop thinking about Kazakhstan. It is hard not to view everything in my
life through the lense of our adoptive experience. I have a friend with kids raised in a bilingual and bicultural household. We have lots of discussions about how children learn and keep languages and how to make cultural traditions a part of family life. This is an even greater challenge when you are not native to the language or the culture and have spent very little time living outside of America. Also I think I have mentioned before that there is no immigrant population of Kazakhs and few foreign exchange students representing that country living in the US. So how do I teach my daughter about the culture she left behind in such a way that she will be both interested in it and feel a part of it as she makes the journey towards adulthood?
The Kaz. Princess loves her Lifebook (a book about a child's life before adoption), we look at it almost everyday. You can see from the blog I have started to explore the cuisine of Kazakhstan. Thank goodness for the internet as we can not just pop on over to a local restaurant to sample potato samsa or "five fingers". So my strategy at this point is to tell lots of stories about our 9 weeks in Kazakhstan and do research on Kazakh fairytales ( I will do a post on this later). This I will use as a springboard for daily conversations about the culture. I have lists of toys and activities to make/do based on traditional life on the Steppe. I try to think of things she would be seeing, smelling, tasting, playing with, and doing as a child growing up in her native country. This is my inspiration. It must be a part of her daily life until she says "please mom no more Kazakhstan". Otherwise I fear she will feel no connection to the beautiful place where she was born. Wish me luck. I hope this encourages other parents of "bicultural"children to get creative!
Draw and cut out your "sauce" templates.
This is for two different servings of "sauce" so you can serve a friend too.
Pin to your felt.
Use sharp scissors to cut out a "front" and a "back" for each separate template
Cut shapes to be your "ingredients".
Here you see onions, cilantro, tomatoes and sweet peppers.
You could cut brown squares or make cubes to represent the traditional mutton or beef.
This tutorial could easily be adapted to make beshbarmak as well.
Sew your "ingredients"on by hand. Notice I switched from squares of sweet pepper to rings for a nicer pattern. Match your "fronts" and "backs" and blanket stitch together.
Cut 15-20 long strips, about 1/2 an inch wide, from a single piece of felt.
To get a nice clean edge it is best to use an exacto knife and a metal straight edge/ruler. Cheap synthetic felt tends to stretch out of shape as you cut it if it is poorly put together. Test it for thickness and strength before buying. Some wool felt will also pull apart as you cut it if it is made by true felting technique.
So have some fun by trying to make felt food. I warn you it is quite addicting A quiet meditative activity to do in the evenings. If you want to make some real laghman you can find a recipe on this previous post.
I thought I would try and make the real noodles from scratch this week but right now that feels a bit daunting as bread is challenge enough for me. This month you can look forward to posts on both real as well as felt samsa and pelmeni.