The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread…
…is Azeri bread (ç= ch, çorek). Only partially sliced, so tearing can take place. About as ubiquitous as tea, bread is everything in Azerbaijan. You can get bread anywhere, even the little general store-esque shops. I have had no problem adapting to this culture when it comes to bread. They make good bread, and they treat it well. Don’t throw away bread; don’t let it fall on the floor; if bread goes bad, give it to animals who will eat it. Bread will not be wasted here. It is safe to say that bread is sacred. Breaking bread with someone has a special meaning for many people.
My host mom makes our bread. They showed me the firepit where they bake it, and they make different types, such as tandoori bread, and thin tortilla-type bread called lavash (lavaş). And then there are the regular wheels of bread you can buy anywhere. Its like always having good bread from the bakery. There was a day a week or two ago when an aunt came over and she and my host mom made huge stacks of the lavaş. It was superb.
Çorek is eaten with everything. One of my favorites is that for breakfast I’ll have bread with butter (yağ) and cheese (pǝndir). It’s a crumbly, salty goat cheese (I think–the goat part is unconfirmed) that is fantastic, and is also ubiquitous throughout Azerbaijan. Having that with tea or coffee in the morning is great. It also goes great with soups and fried potatoes and eggplant. When my host mom makes me lunch, she stuffs a hunk of bread with cucumbers, tomatoes, and various meat cutlets. And for dinner, the breadbasket is generally overflowing. Some people have gotten a little overwhelmed with the amount of bread, but I’m very much enjoying it.