I am sitting on a bench in the sun at 12,500 ft in the foothills of Langtang Mountain Range (Himalayan Mountains) all wrapped up in two coats, long johns and a thick blanket because it is freezing. I am looking at the outside walls of the building closest to me that is spattered in yak dung. The dung is put there to dry. Then it will be pried off and used in the oven to cook and heat with.
This morning I sat in the family kitchen on a plastic stool next to the stove with mom, dad, two kids, the guide and the porter. The stove was homemade of mud and concrete and heated with wood and yak dung. There were two 4 inch in diameter holes on top of it, one was covered by a large steel teapot and the other with a pan of milk and rice for rice pudding. The kitchen was well stocked with large pots, frying pans and all the necessary table wear. I also saw dozens of fresh eggs and potatoes.
My typical meal has been:
Breakfast: ginger lemon tea always with sugar, milk coffee with sugar, scrambled egg with yak cheese, vegetables (cabbage and kale).
Lunch: ginger tea, pasta noodles , eggs, with extra vegetables and yak cheese, French fries, ketchup
Dinner: ginger tea with mashed potatoes and yak cheese, noodles with vegetables
In other words the same things all day long disguised in a variety of ways :-)
After I ate my breakfast I observed the father making Tibetan Bread, a buckwheat round flatbread that they eat with everything. First the dough is fried on both sides in a frying pan on top of the stove. Then it is browned directly on the yak dung coals turning it often with their bare hands. They were also throwing boiled bite size potatoes with or with out the skin on the coals to warm and eat directly from the fire.
It was a cozy morning, one that I felt honored to be apart of.