Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dahl Bat

Before I begin my next blog, let me just make sure that everyone who read my last one understands that I’m NOT saying that women in ministry don’t need men at all, because that is certainly not the case! Men AND women are pivotal to ministry and even though Girl Week was great, it was also really nice when all the men came back. 

So anyway, food. It’s pretty great, no? Our culture loves food. We have food at almost every social gathering, and sometimes even create social gatherings just so we can have food! Good cooks are greatly esteemed, while children of bad cooks are greatly pitied. Food is so important in our culture some identities are even formed by it. People take pride in their sense of taste; “I’m a vegetarian” or “I just LOVE spicy food!” or even “I don’t eat fast food” can be major statements of how one perceives themselves and the world around them. 

You might think I’m being a little overdramatic, but seriously. If you doubt how much food affects our culture, just take one day and count how many times food comes up in some capacity. Whether it’s about an amazing meal that they had just last week, or a great new restaurant that you should try, or even just a story about something that happened in the kitchen or at the dinner table. Food is EVERYWHERE in our culture, not just our bellies! 

And it’s not just food in general that we’re obsessed with, it’s the variety of food that really gets us. New recipes are always being made. Everyone has their own favorite genre of food. Food is always being compared to itself, like “this burger is pretty good, but honestly you should try my dad’s. HE makes the best burgers ever!” or “you call that spaghetti? Please. I’m Italian, I know what real spaghetti is, and that is NOT it” (by the way I’m not trying to generalize, I knew an Italian once who actually said that sentence).  

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make here is that America loves food, and a whole bunch of different kinds of food at that. Food is spoken of in terms of quality and how well it was prepared, not if there’s going to be enough. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, to love food and all it’s kind of variety, all I’m trying to do here is point out how different that is from most of the world! 

Here in Nepal, there is a wonderful little dish called Dahl Bat. “Dahl” means lentils, and “bat” means rice. So, Dahl Bat is essentially lentil soup poured over rice. And this is what Nepali people eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s actually pretty delicious, especially when served with vegetable curry (as it usually is). 

But for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner? Last week, we were blessed with a variety of food because we were staying with the DeBortoli’s. But this week Dahl Bat is our reality, which honestly is not that much of a sacrifice since it’s so good and just a week. But like I said before, Americans love a little variety in their food. Well I’m American, and I’m looking forward to a couple weeks when I’ll be back in the States with all kinds of food at my finger tips (for those of you who are planning on feeding me when I get back, spaghetti is what comes to mind most often!). 

So tonight as I was eating Dahl Bat and dreaming about In-n-Out, I was prepping my mind for week ahead where I’ll only have this one option of eating. But then I looked around at all the kids who were actually shoveling the food into their mouths, and I realized that they probably don’t have any trace in their minds of wanting to eat something different. 

Because for them, they’ve never HAD anything different for lunch or dinner. Sure there have been birthday parties where they had cupcakes and such, but for a meal, I’m sure between all of them they could count on one of their tiny hands how many main courses they’ve had that were not dahl bat. 

And then I started to think about all the people we met in the villages who served us dahl bat, and it must be the same for them! Nepal obviously has food other than dahl bat, there’s certain delicacies and such, but for every day meals it’s just generally known that dahl bat is what you’ll eat. 

That’s crazy. An entire country all eating the same thing for every meal. What’s even crazier though is that they don’t mind at all, in fact I don’t think they would ever even dream of something different! 

I’m not trying to make a point with this blog at all. It just blew my mind, and I wanted to share that :).

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