Yeshi’s family are just back from a long stay in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. Last week they sent this picture of mum and dad picnicking outside one of Lhasa’s holy sites.
In Tibet, picnicking is a hugely popular summertime activity, but it happens during the winter months as well, especially on trips away. Yeshi’s parents take huge bags of food along with them when they travel. They want to make sure that they have their cheese and their barley. It helps them to feel at home even when they are far from the land to which they are normally so closely tied.
Yak meat is another fixture at picnics. When a yak is killed (often there is no need, and the beast is simply retired – they usually survive about 30 years), its meat is cured and dried for use over the long, barren winter months. This meat can be eaten as a raw snack – as pictured above – or added to soups and stews. When it’s raw it is chewy on first bite, but it soon melts in the mouth.
Most Tibetans consume meat and dairy: they can’t avoid it, even if in principle they’d rather not. The highest reaches of the Tibetan Plateau are too cold and arid for cultivated agriculture, while the yak thrives at high altitude. This leaves the nomads in particular with little alternative.
The meat of a single beast is consumed over the course of a whole year, and nothing of the animal is wasted. Yak skin is used to make boots, saddlebags and boats. Its bones are used to make combs and buttons, and its tail is used as a duster. For Tibetans, the loss of life becomes bearable when every part of the beast is consumed or used.
Yeshi’s family are back home with the herd now and gearing up for springtime. And we are back in our groove – thank you to everyone who came to dine with us last week, or to take home. Our opening hours for this week are as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3pm (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Looking forward to seeing you again soon,
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318