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The Kathmandu Diet

June 16, 1999

As a Peace Corps volunteer there in the 1960s, I enjoyed the article on Nepali cuisine ("One Night in Nepal," June 9). However, the royal cuisine in the article is very luxurious compared to most diets there. If there was a Nepali middle class--people living in sufficiency by their own standards--they lived on simpler food. The typical meal was dal-bhat tarkari: boiled rice mixed with thick, spicy lentil soup plus side dishes of spiced vegetables and perhaps an even spicier condiment.

At first this diet seemed almost intolerably plain and monotonous, yet by Nepali standards, it was a privilege to be able to eat rice twice a day while poorer people got by with other grains. I will never forget spending a night on the trail as the house guest of a Brahmin and watching him eat rice plain with pride and enjoyment, compared to my greed for something, anything, to accompany it!

DAVID MASON

Culver City

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