The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lunch in Afghanistan

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

Lunch in Afghanistan

As some of you will remember, I shipped a care package to a family member who is serving his 4th tour in the Middle East that included rye bread. The idea was to send the components to have the men be able to have a ham and cheese sandwich with all the fixings. There was much discussion about the best way to ship the Sour deli style Rye bread. In the end I bucked up and tried everything, not wanting to put all my eggs one basket. I made 3 loaves to be shipped in a paper bag wrapped loosely in plastic and I made 4 loaves sealed then puncture the seal in plastic. I kept one loaf home as my control and it sat in my kitchen as a control batch.

Today I got a message from my cuz in Afghanistan, way up North on the Pakistani border near Tora Bora, telling me they had just had the best hot ham and cheese sandwich ever. I'm very relieved everything made it OK and the bread was edible. It takes about 2 weeks for the mail to get there.

From the way his message was worded it sounded like they had gotten the box a couple days ago. That's good because my control turned moldy last night. I guessed the package would spend at least half of its life in a cold environment this time of year and would fare better than my control package at room temp.

As for which method was better, he said it was all good to eat. That coming from a guy who dines on MRE's every day so who knows.

Eric

Floydm's picture
Floydm

That's awesome. Glad to hear it got to them.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I have a dear nephew who is in special forces ops (army helicopter) that just got back from his second tour in Afghanistan having served twice in Iraq as well. He will return again in April and one more time after that.

 

I was very interested to find out how this would work out when you first mentioned it. So far I have only sent him sweet baked goods which he loves, of course, they love and appreciate everything so much. I'm sure those sandwiches tasted simply incredible.

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

ZB,
Over the years, I have sent all kinds of things over there. I do pay attention to the weather and try not to send things that would spoil. The bread was a stretch frankly and I wasn't sure it would be OK. As a backup plan I sent a few bags of beans and some dried veggies so worse case scenario they could make ham and bean soup. What could be more depressing than receiving a box of food and the primary item is all moldy. But, thankfully it all worked out fine.

How do you send the sweet rolls? The guys like Twinkies so that's the first thing I get when I'm working on a box. This last box would give you indigestion if I listed all the ingredients. They share what ever they get so I always plan on feeding about 10-12 men plus dessert (cigars).

Eric

edh's picture
edh

Eric,

I laughed and laughed at your previous post (the vacuum packaging), but I have to say, I find what you're doing for your cuz and his buddies to be truly incredible.

Thank you so much for what you're doing to support them.

Glad to hear of your success, as well!

edh

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks edh. I remember how much I looked forward to a special package when I was serving. I take it as a personal mission to provide what ever I can to those guys. The food is, well, awful day in and day out. This bunch is at a forward base where they don't have any base support like a mess hall or food station. MRE's every day. When I discovered a few years ago that my local smokehouse butcher could cryovac smoked meat products that would be safe in any temp for 6 weeks, well I went to work. They eat pretty well now:>) They deserve it.

Eric

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Eric, I have never sent any type of bread or sweet rolls. I've made cookies, bars and an incredible brownie recipe. The brownies are loaded with chocolate and chocolate chips and are very heavy. I think one recipe boxed weighed about 11 pounds - might have been 14 pounds, I can't remember. They are very dense almost like a cross between brownie and fudge so I wrap them a few chunks at a time in parchment paper, followed by plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Then I place them inside big ziplock containers and wrap those heavily in plastic bubble wrap.