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Yemeni cooking…

One of my favorite lunch dishes literally translated is “small lamb”. It’s slices of lamb with pieces of onion, potato, and peppers. They fry it up with some “spice” (that’s all they say) and it’s rather tasty. I get fresh flatbread with it, you use it as your utensil, just scoop it up and eat… There are no stoves in the kitchen, they use what look like huge bunsen burners with a rack to hold the pan. The amazing thing is how far they have the gas cranked up. At “idle”, the flame is probably 7-8 inches high, when they start cooking, look out! They crank the gas up to the point that the flame is over 2 feet high without a pan getting in the way! The bottom 8 inches or so is blue, and then it cools to a nice orange color for the rest. When they put the pan down, the gas jet slams into the pan and wraps all the way around it. It sounds like they’re smelting iron, you can tell what restaurants serve “lamb” by the sound. It is a distinctive whoooshing from the gas jets.

Everyone cooks with gas here, both the restaurants and homes, but there is no gas utility. You use tanks, just like our grills back home except larger. Gas merchants walk up and down the streets with their wheelbarrows full of tanks all day (at least in the old city). They announce their presence by clanging on the cans with the wrench they use to change the tanks. CLANG CLANG CLANG is a very familiar sound, it’s as ubiquitous as people pounding on (metal) doors and children doing… whatever.

Isaac

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