A Nation Obsessed with Biscuits

Trip Start Feb 24, 2009
Trip End Aug 19, 2009

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Friday, April 10, 2009

I thought I would share some thoughts and experiences on food.  Food is mostly what I think about all day long.  None of this deep contemplation of the universe or meditation lark for me, no, I just spend the day counting down the time until my next meal is going to appear.  As I know many of you are burning with curiosity, meal times and contents are as follows at Tahara:

6.30am - Breakfast. Tea and Chura (completely tastless and quite spiky beaten rice)....or biscuits
9.00am - Lunch.  Rice and Takari (vegetable curry / soup, mainly cabbage and potato)
3.00pm - Tiffin.  Biscuits and tea
7.00pm - Dinner.  Rice and Takari.  Dal if we are lucky (lentil soup) and on Saturadays we get meat!

Note please the extraodinarily long time between "lunch" and Tiffin.  Our new volunteer B says that it is good for us to really appreciate hunger, whilst I can see her point, she also said that some days she contemplates going to the bakery and buying a whole cake, and eating it all in the bakery, then buying another one to bring home and share, whilst denying all knowledge of the first....that doesn't sound good to me.  I found a quote by an eminant philosipher today which sums up the whole experience:

"When you wake up in the morning Pooh" said Piglet at last "what is the first thing you say to yourself?" "Whats for breakfast" said Pooh. "What do you say Piglet?" "I say I wonder whats going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.  Pooh nodded thoughtfully "Its the same thing" he said.

You will notice that potentially two of our daily meals are tea and biscuits.  I have never been to a place so obsessed with biscuits.  Every shop sells them, there are two whole ailses in the supermarket dedicated to them (2 out of 8!).  Whereas in the UK people buy crisps or chocolate, or fruit or a sandwich for a snack, here it's always biscuits.  My favouite are the ones which are slightly cheesy and also sweet.  Strange combination but at only 7p a packet, a winner every time. 

I have however had two trips out this week which have resulted in some change in the diet.  Firstly I visited Sarmillas paraents at their house in Pokhara.  Her Father is ex-Indian Army and so they are relitavly well off (many people from Sarmilla and Manoj's Caste, Gurung, are in either the Indian or British Army).  We had a delicious Pork curry, and I even got Lemonade!  It was a lovely trip to see them, but the language barrier was a bit of a shame, my Nepali still not being anywhere near conversational.  I did get a parting gift though, some cura, which are the coloured bangles that Nepali girls wear.  Sarmillas mother took me into the bedroom, and with a lot of sign language and laughing I figured that she was asking me to pick any ones I wanted from her collection.  I am now the proud wearer of some pretty green ones, that I can't get off!

The second trip was to see Manoj's paraents, who still live in their village up in the hills.  There we got chicken curry.  Spoiled rotten this week :-)  It was nice to get out of the town and see some of the surrounding countryside, and Manoj's parents were equally as kind as Sarmillas.  Manoj was telling us that life in their village is now quite comfotable as there is now a road, but when he was growing up it was an hours walk each way to school, and an hours walk to the jungle to cut the grass for the animals.  They also had some fields that they could farm, but they were a whole days walk down on the valley floor, so they had to go and stay there for 3 days at a time.  When he was talking about how hard life used to be he listed the things they didn't have in the following order " There was no road, no biscuits, no electricity, no TV no running water, but now we have the road, we have biscuits."  How I didn't burst out laughing in his face when he said biscuits I will never know.

On that note I am off for a sneaky trip to the supermarket for some biscuits, having missed tiffin today, before heading home to eat rice.  Think of me whilst tucking into your cheese sandwich, jacket spud, cake, salad, bacon butty, chips, roast lamb etc etc etc.
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