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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-25
  • Publisher: Free Press

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Travel books bring us to places. War books bring us to tragedy. This book brings us to one woman#x19;s travels in war zones: the locals she met, the compassion they scraped from catastrophe, and the food they ate. Peace Meals is a true story about conflict and food. It illustrates the most important lesson Anna Badkhen has observed as a journalist: war can kill our friends and decimate our towns, but it cannot destroy our inherent decency, generosity, and kindnessthat which makes us human. Badkhen writes: There is more to war than the macabrethe white-orange muzzle flashes during a midnight ambush . . . the scythes of shrapnel whirling . . . like lawnmower blades spun loose; the tortured and the dead. There are also the myriad brazen, congenial, persistent ways in which life in the most forlorn and violent places on earth shamelessly reasserts itself. Of those, sharing a meal is one of the most elemental.#xA0; No other book about war has looked at the search for normalcy in conflict zones through the prism of food. In addition to the events that dominate the news todaythe wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Peace Meals also bears witness to crises that are less often discussed: the conflict in Chechnya, the drought cycle in East Africa, the failed post-Soviet states, the Palestinian intifada. Peace Meals focuses on day-to-day life, describing not just the shocking violence but also the beauty that continues during wartime: the spring flowers that bloom in the crater hollowed by an air-to-surface missile, the lapidary sanctuary of a twelfth-century palace besieged by a modern battle, or a meal a tight-knit family shares in the relative safety of their home as a firefight rages outside. It reveals how one war correspondent#x19;s professional choices are determined not only by her opinion of which story is important but also by the instinctive comparisons she, a young mother, makes each time she meets children in war zones; by her intrinsic sense of guilt for leaving her family behind as she goes off to her next dangerous assignment; and, quite prosaicallythough not surprisinglyby her need to eat. Wherever Badkhen went, she broke bread with the people she wrote about, and the simple conversations over these meals helped her open the door into the lives of strangers. Sometimes dinner was bread and a fried egg in a farmer#x19;s hut, or a packet of trail mix in the back of an armored humvee. Sometimes it was a lavish, four-course meal at the house of a local warlord, or a plate of rice and boiled meat at a funeral tent. Each of these straightforward acts of humanity tells a story. And these stories, punctuated by recipes from these meals, form Peace Meals. Following Badkhen#x19;s simple instructions, readers will taste what made life in these tormented places worth living.

Author Biography

Anna Badkhen has been writing about conflicts since 2001 for The New York Times, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She lives in Philadelphia.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. ix
Dolma with Ahmadp. 1
Dreaming of Lettucep. 20
The Kebab Diariesp. 38
Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovsp. 55
Dumplings at Cafe Titanicp. 79
Vodka at Gunpointp. 99
Borsch During Wartimep. 115
Mezze in Jerusalem, Mansafm Al Qudsp. 135
Peanut Butter for Your Donkeyp. 163
Lobster in Tikritp. 182
Shopping for Bread in a Bradleyp. 206
Spice Girlsp. 230
Epiloguep. 261
Waiting for the Talibanp. 263
Peace Meals Recipe Indexp. 325
Index to Peace Mealsp. 327
Reading Group Guide and Author Q&Ap. 537
Acknowledgmentsp. 351
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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