Plof Contest

What is Navruz? Well, the President of Uzbekistan tells us that it’s “an especially dear holiday for its beauty and deep roots” where, among other things, celebrants “dance beside huge food pots.”

From the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Germany, we learn that Navruz is a “festival of peace and new beginnings,” held at the spring equinox in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries.

Which doesn’t really explain the Plof Contest.

Plof, it seems, is the Bukharan national dish (Bukhara, in turn, is a city of southern Uzbekistan). Plof is described in this Jerusalem Post article as Bukharan Rice with Chicken and Carrots.

Which is where Procter & Gamble comes in. You might have thought that Procter & Gamble was a simply North American concern, but, no, they have extended their reach around the world. In Kazakhstan (the country just north of Uzbekistan), one of the brand names they operate is Fairy, under which banner they sell dish soap.

Which brings us to March 21, 2001 in Almaty, Kazakhstan and the Plof Contest.

In a community-minded spirit that a “festival of peace” would be bound to engender, Procter & Gamble sponsors a contest each Navruz in which contestants compete to, well, make the best plof.

This contest not only affords the good people of Almaty the opportunity to sample the “…first delicious Navruz plof,” but also, P&G tells us, results in “…ocean of positive emotions, smiles & happy faces…”

I hope one day to attend.