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soak them in water for a couple of days, and then add rosewater so the fruits release their own sugar." It's delicious, he adds, sort of like Scandinavian fruit soup.

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first came to Minnesota in 1985 to attend Clickkeyword[Macalester+College]" >Macalester College in St. Paul.

Being a guest is nice, but eventualy it starts to wear on a person. It helps to be polite and appropriately grateful, but no matter how welcoming your hosts, there always comes a time when it feels like your suitcase is taking up too much space in the spare room and it's time to roll up the futon and go.

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Sherzad hadn't been in St. Paul long when he heard that a new Afghan restaurant had opened up nearby, on St. Clair Avenue. It was named Khyber Pass Caf after the treacherous mountain pass that that connects his country with Clickkeyword[Pakistan]" >Pakistan. Hungry for food that reminded him of home, he went to the new restaurant and ordered a meal.

That pride, Sherzad understood, came from being able to share Afghan cuisine and culture with American diners. He longed to do the same thing one day, to share the traditions of the country he'd Michael Kors Handbags Turquoise

One Afghan tradition Sherzad particularly enjoys sharing with his customers is Nau Rouz, or Afghan New Year. In Afghanistan, the new year begins in late March, around the vernal equinox. Nau Rouz (or Clickkeyword[Nau+Ruz]" >Nau Ruz) is an ancient spring celebration of renewal celebrated in much of the Mideast, featuring outdoor egg games, music, dancing, and food.

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"Home is where your friends are," Sherzad says. "From the beginning, St. Paul has been a very welcoming place to me. I also like to be a welcoming person, and this restaurant gives me the opportunity to do that. I feel like through this job I can give back a little to this city that has been so welcoming to me. Afghans are a hospitable people. We might be a poor country, but we are generous."

That's more or less how Emel Sherzad felt. Sherzad was born in Clickkeyword[Afghanistan]" >Afghanistan and lived there until 1978 when his family was forced into exile in Europe. He Michael Kors Wallet Zip Around

"Masooda was my waitress that first time I came to the restaurant," he recalls. "As soon as I saw her, I knew this was a real Afghani restaurant because she carried herself with such pride."

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Not long after they married, the couple bought the restaurant from Masooda's family, and for nearly 15 years, they've served as St. Paul's unofficial representatives of Afghan culture. It's a role Sherzad relishes. He, Masooda, and their two children have made St. Paul their home, and since the restaurant feels like an extension of their own dining room, they get the pleasure of hosting people every day.

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been forced to leave so many years ago.

"It was perfect," recalls Sherzad, who'd been disappointed by the other "Middle Eastern" food he'd eaten in the city. "It tasted just the way Afghani food was supposed to taste."

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´╗┐From Hosted to Hosts

Kadu Borani isn't a traditional Nau Rouz dish, but Sherzad likes to serve it at this time of year because it reminds him of home. "It's an old family recipe, a particular favorite of mine," he says. "Because you start with whole squash, it's really very labor intensive to prepare."

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When you immigrate to a new country, it can take years to stop feeling like a guest. You have to send down roots deep enough to build a home of your own before you can return the favor and host the people who've hosted you for Michael Kors Ava Blush so many years.

It was also perfect that in this restaurant Sherzad was among Afghan people. Not only could he eat food that reminded him of home, he was with others who spoke his language and shared his culture. Eventually, he got a job working in the restaurant, and became friends with the owners' son. He also became friends with the owners' daughter, and in 1991, they married.

Beyond regular menu items such as the four mini dish vegetarian plate or the organic lamb stewed with spinach the restaurant will feature several traditional Nau Rouz delicacies, including a sweet soup called haft mewa. "Haft mewa means seven fruits," Sherzad explains. "We take seven different dried fruits and nuts, Michael Kors Bags Price List

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"It's the best holiday," Sherzad says. "It has struggled to survive in modern times because it has pagan roots. In Clickkeyword[Iran]" >Iran, when the religious people came to power, they banned it. Clickkeyword[The+Taliban]" >The Taliban in Afghanistan banned it, too. I like it because it's a celebration of the sun. It transcends religion. It makes so much sense to me to celebrate the renewal of nature, to celebrate spring, to let go of the old and celebrate new life." This year, the Sherzad family and Khyber Pass will host a Nau Rouz celebration March 17 and 18.

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Other traditional dishes Sherzad plans to serve at this year's Nau Rouz celebration include qubeli pilau, a savory treat of brown rice cooked in stock and combined with caramelized onions, julienned carrots, raisins, almonds, and pistachios; and kadu borani, a warm, mellow dish of stewed butternut squash.

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