Eating rice, lentil soup and vegetables with my hands makes me feel like I’m a four year old whose mother is going to shove a fork in my hand at any moment. I try to mush the rice (bhat) and lentil soup (dal) into a ball, then I add a chunk of potato from my pile of curried veggies and I scoop the lot onto my fingers and use my thumb to push everything into my mouth. We’re eating Nepali style and somehow I don’t feel coordinated enough.
I’m just glad I’m right handed which is the customary eating hand (left is reserved for the bathroom. Just wait, I’ve got a blog all about that coming up). Some volunteers find the local eating schedule difficult. Nepali’s eat twice a day in the late morning and then again at night around 8:30 or 9 pm. It’s dal baht for both meals.
It’s a hearty mix of food that fuels the locals all day. It’s even more impressive to watch a small Nepali eat because their plates are piled high with rice. One local housewife told me her family of seven goes through 50 kg of rice each month. To western eyes the plates seem like a tremendous amount but after a few weeks on the same diet volunteers tend to man up and follow their host family’s style. It’s when volunteers accept a plate piled high with rice and tuck in that host mothers nod with approval towards their temporarily adopted western children.