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A Forced Lunch with a Rebel Force

As we pulled up to the imposing and beautifully-built government palace, we could hear the faraway booms of Saudi bombs, and the very loud, very near crack-crack-crack of anti-aircraft fire. We were here to interview one of the new leaders of the Houthi rebels in Sana’a, and it suddenly felt like we were in a […]

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Street Snack in Yemen: Prickly Pears

It’s a sight common across the middle east — giant flatbed carts full of fruits and vegetables, pushed around by turbaned, and often wizened men, slinging the freshest produce of the season in that particular region. In Afghanistan, you’re struck by white mountains of oversized cauliflower and blood red pomegranates, some cut open to flaunt […]

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Outside Beirut, Home-Cooked Hospitality

It doesn’t take long to escape the traffic- and dust-clogged streets of Beirut. Just an hour spent bouncing around in the car will get you high into the hills, overlooking the corniche and the coastline, above the congestion and pollution. There you’ll find cedar trees (immortalized on the Lebanese flag), deep valleys and beautiful stone […]

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Quick Snack: Cereal… with a Treat

Presented nearly without comment…. Methinks many people in this unnamed hotel in Antakya, Turkey, are NOT eating cereal. These flakes must be several years old. This bug is slightly newer, but had a very nice life in the plastic tube of breakfast-y goodness. Perhaps he ate himself to death. Thankfully, I saw him before I […]

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Kebab (of course!) and Baked Hummus in Adana

As our plane made its late-night descent into the Turkish town of Adana, I turned toward my seatmate, a young airplane mechanic who grew up here, in the Southern part of the country. “What’s the one thing I’ve got to eat while I’m in town?” I asked. “Adana Kebab, of course!” He replied. “It’s the […]

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Quick Snack: A Russian Samovar at the Ukrainian Frontlines

The front lines of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine are bleak, particularly in February. The areas around Debaltsevo, hotly contested between Ukrainian troops and separatists/Russian forces, are rolling hills of frosty farmland, now sallow and muddy. The Ukrainians are hunkered down in [redacted], taking shelter where they can and using makeshift stoves, the local coal […]

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Quick Snack: Noshing at Putin’s Press Conference

Every year, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a press conference for international media at a government building in Moscow. The media arrive early for security screening and to set up their equipment. As President Putin tends to answer questions for hours (this year it was 3, but has been as long as 5), a buffet […]

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Quick Snack: Coffee and Dates in Saudi Arabia

The hospitality in Saudi Arabia is legendary; good thing, too, as the cultural conservatism that abounds makes it difficult for a girl like me to enjoy other food- and drink-based activities. Obviously, there are no bars (there aren’t even movie theaters!), so that’s out. Going to a restaurant is an isolating experience: the main dining […]

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