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    Sangak on a bike

    August 14, 1998
    The Iranian

    It was a typical summer morning in Tehran. A Friday morning. I had already been up, ridden my bike to the sangaki bakery at about 6:30 in the morning and back. I was 12 years old.

    We usually only needed one sangak but I used to munch on it on the way back and by the time I got home, more than half of it was gone. So eventually my mother told me to get two since I could not hold my appetite.

    It was such an adventure. Riding the bike, early in the morning, fresh air blowing in your face, the water in the joob flowing fast and making noise, with hardly any cars around so you could ride right in the middle of the street -- a definite no-no with my mother (ha ha!).

    "AqA dotA khAsh-khAshi."

    "meesheh seh toman."

    We lived in Darrous, just south of Qolhak in Tehran. The joob was an extension of an old qanat located several kilometers north, close to Meydoon-e Qanat in the then Dowlat Street. Every morning someone would let the water out of the qanat and all the area joobs would be overflowing with water. In some places, the residents or the municipality workers (a.k.a. roftgars, Ash-ghAlis) would create dams to divert the water to the trees planted along the joob.

    Once you had the sangak, the trick was to steer the bike with one hand while holding the hot bread, wrapped in newspaper in the other. It was impossible to resist the fragrance on an empty stomach. So the steering hand, on occasion would tear off a piece of the bread and place it in the mouth for maximum enjoyment. Woe to the senses when there was a piece of hot stone stuck onto the bread! Burning fingers or a burning mouth would be the penalty for such carelessness!

    Nothing in the world is like riding your bike in a sarAziri, one-handed, as fast as you can, eyes wet with wind-induced tears, with a hot piece of sangak-eh khAsh-khAshi hanging half-way out of your mouth!


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