National Geographic : 1953 Sep
. - JANDM S*Ka'ul ; KASHMIR\ O Kanda ar T 15^- N^.*jeiyea^hi 0,, : 9rr.- C, 1?? 421 Drawn by Irvin E. Alleman Landlocked Afghanistan Sits in One of the World's Hottest Hot Spots With iron-curtained Soviet Russia, disputed Jammu and Kashmir, a corner of Red China, Pakistan, and oil troubled Iran as neighbors, Afghanistan is a classic example of the independent buffer state. more water into the supply tank and re-estab lish the proper course of the hot water. The well went dry regularly every other day for six weeks, and mud collected in the tank and connections. Finally we had to bicycle pump the pipes to blow them open before we could take a bath. After a year with the gor geous, erratic plumbing, we left the house it glorified for a larger one, with a bigger garden, tin-pipe plumbing-and less rent. A few houses in Kabul are now being built with indoor kitchens. One house we know of has a kitchen adjacent to the dining room; but, to reach the dining table, food must be carried out the kitchen door, along a path half the length of the house, into the main hall, and thence into the dining room-all because there is no connecting door between dining room and kitchen! Step saving is not yet a concern of most Afghan builders. In our new home the cookhouse was just a few feet from the dining room. It boasted an elegant wood- and coal-burning iron stove plus the usual charcoal stove, which is little more than a mud shelf with four holes in it. How Nabi, the cook, produced a blazing charcoal fire in a few minutes remains a mys tery to me. Yet, with the dexterity of a jug gler, he broiled, stewed, and baked over those four holes. Nabi liked to use the pressure cooker, and I worried a little about his gay unconcern lest the cooker blow up with too hot a fire. I soon ceased to marvel at the incongruity of a pressure pan on an age-old charcoal stove. No such thing as a sink graces the usual Afghan kitchen. Its substitute is a square stone on the floor with a raised edge around it, a drainpipe, and a water pitcher, or, per haps, a galvanized tin tank with faucet. Though we provided a large kitchen table, dishpans and drain trays still sat on the floor during dishwashing. The cook crouched on his haunches or sat on a low bench to prepare the vegetables. He would drop potato parings on the floor when my back was turned! "I finish. I sweep up," he reassured me. Nabi was a blessing who came to us as our bearer before we had even found a house.