MOST RECENT DINNERS
The Gastros Eat Bukharian Uzbek Kebabs
Of course, you’ve heard the tale of the wandering Jews of Bukhara and of the tribe of Shlomo and Frank.
No? Well, gather around. Let us tell you the tale:
Some time in the 7th Century the tribe of Shlomo and Frank left the Holy Land for Persia in search of sweeter tasting honey and skimmier milk. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar (ever the trickster) Shanghaied them into building nuclear reactors outside of Baghdad. (This history is all true, btw.) So, anyway, Shlomo and Frank got a bit tired of eating Mesopotamian delights all day and decided to keep wandering east. The crossed mountains and deserts, riding sheep by day and sheltering for the cold nights in dromedary pouches. And when they got to U-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, they knew they were home: This was their new home, land of liver and onions.
“Oh, Uzbekistan, you’re so … nice, much nicer than those other places.” they sang (hence the national anthem) gazing at the hills above the forested valley of the ancient capital, Tashkent. And Shlomo and Frank made their home there, and were plentiful and prospered, raising sheep and children, and grandkids and grandsheep, and great grandsheepkids and donkeygirls. (We’re serious: you can look this up.) Anyway, millennia passed and while the ancient kingdom of “Uzbekistan” has faded into history, lost to the sands of time, the Bukharan Jews of that land survived — eventually moving to Queens.
Finally in Forrest Hills in Queens Shlomo and Frank started Arzu, (which means “desire” or “passion,”) named for their love of sheep. To eat, of course. And our gracious hosts can’t wait to tell us about their history….
So, for this month’s feast, we’re taking a tour of Uzbek Bukharan Jewish food, delicious liver and sweetbread kebobs, plov, and Lagman – handpulled noodle soup.