Matt tells the story of a farmer who lived next to their base, sharing his lunch with him each day. The first time they split a meal, "he brought a roasted goat skull with him that he cracked open, fresh off the fire, and picked the brains out for me. We shared that with some flatbread and this awful curdled milk with salt, pepper, and leeks. I kind of choked that down; it was tough to eat. It wasn't something that I was used to. But he was sharing everything that he was eating for lunch with me. It was important to eat the food."
Eating food together and sharing a meal is the way business got done in Afghanistan. Important decisions, Justin says, "don't get made by firing bullets at each other or making power plays. It's all about negotiations, and you're doing that over tea." To learn how to do that, it seems wise to take advice from an Afghan: "Everybody is a human being," Aref says, "God sent us to taste everything. Go to any part of the world, enjoy and eat your food, be happy."
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Naomi Tomky hopes to someday taste Afghan kebabs and bread in Kabul, Afghanistan, but for now is tiding herself over at Kabul, the restaurant. Follow her on Twitter @Gastrognome and Instagram @the_gastrognome.