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Are You Gonna Eat That?

I’ve never seen a toddler work so hard to get the marrow out of a sheep bone.

Each of four days I was with them, a sheep died, sometimes two if we went to the neighbors. I suspect of unnatural causes. Twice I was sipping my tea with the family when somebody entered the house dragging a sheep by the horns, at which point grandpa came over, everyone opened their palms, and he said a little prayer over the animal before they took out back and gave it what for.

I can’t say I recognized the animals individually (they all look the same to me) but they were certainly recognizable as sheep on the dining table or floor. Each time they were served, it was the John the Baahptist head in the middle of the plate (as in the photo at top, where it seems to be resting), surrounded primarily by stomach, spine, shoulder, and innards. I usually went for a little cheek and some chunks of liver.

Of course nothing was spared during preparation. Half the family gathered in the prep room to dress the dead sheep, gut it, and do something that looked like balloon animal contorting with the intestines.

Each meal we drank half a dozen bowls or more of salty, buttery, milk tea. Not my favorite but not so bad. Though how the hell do they not all get dehydrated when this is the only thing they seem to drink?

My personal favorite though was the vat of yogurt that only came out once in a while. So yummy.

They kept pushing the kurt on me, which I believe is petrified chalk.

Fresh baursaki (deep-fried dough balls) hit the spot for their first day or two. After that they’re pretty rubbery.

And thus were we sated. The baby was fed, in addition to breast milk, chunks of flesh that the mother chewed up first. But that toddler and her bones–a thing to see.

One Comment

  1. Bill Fitz-Patrick

    I’ve always wondered how I’d react in a situation like that. I’m a pretty adventurous eater – evidenced by my constantly expanding waistline – but I’d probably draw the line at some of those animal parts served in the dented and chipped red hubcap in the bottom picture. Here’s the question: how did you find the liver in all that mess? Looking forward to seeing you here at the Institute when you return.

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