News: Task Force gets a taste of Afghan culture
Story by Maj. Joel Anderson
KABUL, Afghanistan - Members of a special operations task force currently serving near the Afghan capital have had several opportunities over the last few months to receive a taste of Afghan culture – literally.
The senior task force linguist, known simply as “Hal”, who is also a virtual-Afghan-gourmet, has led the creation of at least one feast per month over the last six months or more, serving for hundreds and cooking over an open fire with the help of his crew of three local national workers and another linguist.
Since early December, Hal and his team have hosted eight international feasts of flavor with a helping of local culture thrown in.
First off, Hal and his team assisted Slovakian members of the task force whip up a batch of goulash along with some Afghan favorites to include qubeli pelau, chicken and beef kebabs, Afghan salad, some special Afghan desserts and of course, a special chai tea.
Next, Hal and his team again supported the Slovaks to help cook up a batch of specially-formulated sauerkraut soup on Christmas Eve.
“When the Slovakians first told me what they wanted to cook, I almost couldn’t believe it,” Hal said. “It had a very strong smell while it was cooking, but it was very well received.”
For New Years’ Eve, Hal and his team also whipped up a batch of special rice pudding, which they proudly served at midnight to help ring in the new-year.
“It is my wife’s recipe,” he said. “I think she would be proud to see it going to good use with the guys in this task force especially since they are doing so much to help Afghans.”
The team also put together a world-class farewell Afghan dinner for the occasion of the task force’s January transfer of authority.
Hal and his team also dished up another outstanding meal to give Slovakian members of the task force a fitting farewell. This gave the Slovakians a chance to once again spice things up with their version of a traditional goulash.
Next, on March 15, Hal and his team helped the Hungarian contingent serve up some international hospitality, when it was their turn to show everyone in the task force how they interpret what a good tasting goulash is all about.
Other more recent taste-sensations have included roasting two lambs over an open pit and a farewell dinner for the outgoing first sergeant’s change of responsibility.
“We enjoy introducing all of the members of the task force to a taste of international culture and flavor,” said Hal. “I have always enjoyed cooking and it is even more fun for a great group like we have here, especially when they really enjoy the Afghan food and food from the other countries.”