FORWARD OPERATING BASE BORIS, Afghanistan – In the 18th century, Napoleon said that an Army travels on its stomach. The cooks who operate the “Boris Café” at Forward Operating Base Boris agree.
Located in the Bermel District of Paktika Province, Afghanistan, roughly 10 miles from the eastern border with Pakistan, the “Boris Café” wouldn’t normally be a place one might think of as where to get the best food in town, but the Soldiers and Department of Defense civilians stationed there would disagree.
Staff Sgt. Patrinia Ross of E Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade, one of the noncommissioned officers running the café, wants to ensure that wherever you call home, you will get a taste of home, at dinner time. She teaches her Soldiers to try something new and encourages them to let their creativity loose when making dinner for patrons of the Boris Café.
Having been deployed before, Ross knows all too well how great food can lift the spirits of Soldiers who constantly put their lives in danger in service to their nation.
“I want to make sure that despite everything that these Soldiers go through, the one guarantee they have is that there will be a dinner ready for them that will remind them, ever so slightly of home,” she said.
Ross invests her time to teach her Soldiers, Spc. Joe Jackson and Pfc. Shaneika Jackson, that Soldiers in these conditions want something different, something that in a way is nostalgic. She reminds them that in a tough environment, such as are the conditions at FOB Boris, Soldiers need something to look forward to that will help to take their minds off being away from home. They need something reminiscent of what it feels like to be at home and is always welcomed, whether it’s Mexican night or pasta night.
“I want to make soul food for every Soldier out here,” Ross said. “I want to make food for them that I would make for my Family on a daily basis. My goal is to put their minds at ease, even for a single moment.”
Through this thinking and dedication to the Soldiers, Ross and her team make each dinner an eventful time. As one Soldier put it, “if only I could get my wife to make food like this all the time, I’d save a bunch since we go out to each almost every night and the nights we don’t go out, we order in.”
(Davy is assigned to Task Force “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment.)