Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Texan in Tibet - Food

"I am not a picky eater. I just prefer pleasing my taste buds first."
-Yuno Mi

I'm not what most would call a picky eater, although I certainly have my preferences.  I avoid all organ meat and generally don't like fish, but I'll eat most any vegetable except mushrooms.  One could best describe my palate as...unsophisticated.

By the time I depart, I will have spent spent January through April eating a strictly low-carb/keto diet and I will have avoided alcohol and processed sugars altogether.  GOD I miss bread!  Judith Viorst once wrote"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces."  I can honestly claim that since December, I've had the strength and capacity to avoid chocolate bars altogether.  But I digress.  I would like to be able to proclaim a new lifelong lease on healthy eating, but the truth is my recent dietary discipline has merely been a part of my resolute conditioning for this trip.  I've been fat and then dropped weight as a means to achieving a goal more times than Hillary has had opposition witnesses suicided.

For this trip, I'll gladly suspend any dietary resolve and just eat what's available.  After all, it's not like I'll have a choice.  One thing is for sure.  I'll bring a fork!  I never understood why anyone would eat food with sticks when forks exist. Again I digress.

I've read up on Nepalese and Tibetan foods and learned that the locals' diets are primarily comprised of lentils, rice, and breads and tend to be influenced by both ethnicity and locale.  That makes sense given that Nepal and Tibet don't exactly have the culinary distribution infrastructure that we enjoy in the States.  Nevertheless, it appears to me to be a bit of a mix of Asian and Indian cuisines, both of which I generally long as it's cooked.  Yak seems to be on the menu everywhere.  I love beef and have eaten venison, horse, lion, ostrich, rattlesnake, alligator, kangaroo, camel, and something furry and ugly that was killed and grilled by an Aboriginal guide in the Outback.  But I've never eaten yak, which looks like a cow with a Rastafarian hairdo.  Apparently, yak is as versatile to the Tibetans as shrimp was to Benjamin Buford Blue.  Did I mention that I generally don't like shrimp?

Home of the Big Yak?
I'm a diehard carnivore (gasp) who loves his meat, but I love my meat unspoiled.  I admit that I harbor concerns about refrigeration and perishable freshness over there.  I prefer my yak-burger fresh, but for this trip will settle for just not rancid!  I've read that the locals have  developed their intestinal constitution over time to be able to tolerate meat that would have me and most westerners throwing up our toenails.  I can't ride for hours on end battling the high altitudes while simultaneously clamping my sphincter shut and trying not to barf in my helmet.  With that pleasant thought in mind, I suspect that unless I'm in a fairly modern restaurant, I'll stick to rice, veggies, eggs, and bread; BREAD!  Bread in any form will be a welcome change.  Maybe even on a yak-burger.

Yakity Yak. Don't Talk Back.