Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reading Notes:How "typical" is Kewa Datsi?

Frequently when Bhutanese live outside Bhutan are asked to cook a "typical" Bhutanese meal they will whip up Kewa Datsi- a stew-like dish with potatoes, chilli and cheese. However research on history of potato in Bhutan suggests that potato might be a  fairly new "typical" Bhutanese food. The below extract comes from the " The Potato in Bhutan" ( 2008) by Walter Roder, Karma Nidup and Ganesh B. Chettri.

"Potato consumption in Bhutan was low up to the 1970s. In the early 70s, when farmers started growing potato for export, they were generally reluctant to consume the tuber. Eating potato as a staple was socially and culturally unacceptable as many Bhutanese believed that potatoes caused problems of the lower abdomen, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Similarly, in the 19th century ethnographical descriptions of Tibet, potato  consumption was said to be " confined to the poorer classes" ( Rockhill 1891). Over the last four decades, the status of potato as a food or vegetable has changed tremendously. Today unlike in the 70s , potato is widely eaten as a vegetable and sometimes even as a staple food." 

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