In the small town of Syrdaryo, about 80 kilometers outside of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, photojournalist Carolyn Drake visited the family of a local friend. The visit coincided with a birthday celebration. In the family’s main room near a window, a dasturxon (Uzbek for tablecloth used as a place setting, usually set on the floor) served as a focal point for sweets, appetizers and side dishes, surrounded by kurpachas, felt mats used for sitting or reclining.
Laid out across the center of the dasturxon are four bowls of chocolate and pastries. Plates of cheese and kolbasa (sausage), and seeds and raisins mirror them from both sides, while alternating plates of olivier (Russian potato salad), kraboviy salat (Russian crabstick salad) and a salad topped with pineapple border the edges.