As far as living without the necessities in life, Iraq has really moved beyond that point. On the whole, we sleep in a bed with a mattress, we have hot showers, satisfying food and access to phones and the internet. We can run on treadmills at the gym, watch movies or play ping pong in the MWR and visit the PX for items ranging from gift cards, electronics, bedding, candy and souvenirs.
What continues to remain elusive however? Treats and reminders of home. You can essentially buy or find any dessert you might desire from the PX or the DFAC, but there is nothing like homemade baked goods to inspire thoughts of cozy kitchens, and family gatherings. This is part of the reason we have taking to baking bread in our Red Cross offices.
Yesterday, I got a box from home with 4 bricks of homemade fudge and it went like wild fire. I first cut up two slabs of the chocolate and went around to the various offices within our building. I thought that people might turn down the offer (although it was still perfectly fresh) seeing as how it had just spent a week shipping from Illinois to Iraq. But there is just something irresistable about Mom's homemade fudge. It was received so well that I printed up signs that I posted in our building to advertise "Homemade Fudge Today, Visit your American Red Cross" and people dropped by the office all afternoon to inquire after the fudge.
Despite having access to sweets on base, there is just something extra special knowing that it came from home. I'm trying to think of other desserts or inklings of home that I can share with the servicemembers out here. If you have any thoughts or ideas for items or foods that symbolize the comfort of home, I'd love to hear them...