The article in brief: The inviting whiff of baked dough wrangles this article into a modest-sized bread bakery where all that is left is sweet doughy surrender.
Standing in line in front of “a hole in the wall” bakery, one would easily get antsy for their turn to come up, thanks to the gripping scent of the dough hardening into sheets of Afghani bread. The cue isn’t long for Aljasmi Bakery in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, but the edible product remains in demand even as the sun reaches its peak in the sky. The working conditions for the bakers are not ideal in the least; the heat emitted from the oven and the weight of the summer wrap themselves around the air, creating a profusely hot environment. Yet, all that does little to slow down the bakers as they focus sternly on their tasks.
“The bakery opened its doors roughly around the year 2000”, one of the bakers named Rahmatullah said informatively to the best of his ability, as his Arabic was not as strong as he would have liked it to be. His concentration softened as he spoke up about the bakery, which was a welcomed sight. Aljasmi bakery specializes in sending out countless hot sheets of thick Afghani bread. The process of making bread takes two men; to separate the dough into equal bundles, each snapped out of the other, then to roll out into a round and thin form. The dough is then laid out on a hard white cushion, which is used to slap the dough into a built in kiln, where it is left for seconds to morph into a delicious edible product, complete with large burnt freckles that make each piece unique in sight and taste.
The bread is reunited with the other dough bundles that went through the same journey, and is housed in a plastic bag, which quickly feels the heat of its occupants and delivers the same heat into the hands of the customer hugging the bag before placing it inside the car. The fragrance that begins to circle the air in the car becomes too enticing to the extent of hesitation to leave the car upon reaching home. But like all good products, this is only produced so it can be shared and consumed. And what a satisfying consumption it is.
Moza Almatrooshi is an Emarati artist and designer. After attaining a BA from Zayed University Dubai in Interior Design in June 2013, Moza began her journey in trying to find a place in the creative industry in the UAE, starting with catching a plane to Italy to intern in the UAE Pavilion in the Venice Art Biennale 2013. Since then Moza has dabbled in several experiences such as architecture, design, event planning, art exhibitions, and writing for independent publications. Moza continues to journey through life, art, and design.
With mass production sweeping the globe, artisanal talents struggle to retain relevancy. This column celebrates the beauty and human value added to a product that is created with skilled hands.