A simple mixture of water, yogurt and cucumber makes a recipe used to be a popular summer dish among the poor. Before eating, dried bread is sopped into the mixture making it a thick liquid that satiates hunger. To improve the taste, they used to add vegetables and salt. Obviously the necessary ingredients are a few inexpensive ones: yogurt, bread and water.
Like many other dishes, it didn’t stay limited to a specific social group. Soon the rich improved the recipe by adding extra ingredients — walnut, dried rose petals, raisin and aromatic vegetables — making an expensive dish, contradicting the reasons behind its creation. The following story articulates how differently one simple dish can be prepared:
It’s said that one day Amir Kabir — chief minister of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar who was discontent with the king’s extravagant food habits — advised the king to eat what the poor eat to understand their misery. Shah asked what they eat. “Yogurt and cucumber”, said the minister.
Naser al-Din Shah summoned his chef and ordered him to prepare the dish. Under the chef supervision, they bought the best quality of each ingredient: Full fat yogurt, fresh baby cucumber, walnut, delicious seedless raisin, fresh mint, aromatic vegetables and loafs of quality bread.
Naser al-Din Shah excessively ate the food and while he was full ordered another bowl. Enjoying the meal, he nagged to Amir Kabir that we never knew our peasants eat such delicious luxurious foods. Arrest anyone who complains, torture and put in prison.
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