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Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar

These sometimes harrowing, frequently funny, and always riveting stories about food and eating under extreme conditions feature the diverse voices of journalists who have reported from dangerous conflict zones around the world during the past twenty years. A profile of the former chef to Kim Jong Il of North Korea describes Kim's exacting standards for gourmet fare, which he gorges himself on while his country starves. A journalist becomes part of the inner circle of an IRA cell thanks to his drinking buddies. And a young, inexperienced female journalist shares mud crab in a foxhole with an equally young Hamid Karzai. Along with tales of deprivation and repression are stories of generosity and pleasure, sometimes overlapping. This memorable collection, introduced and edited by Matt McAllester, is seasoned by tragedy and violence, spiced with humor and good will, and fortified, in McAllester's words, with 'a little more humanity than we can usually slip into our newspapers and magazine stories.'
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Name of the Third Chicken: Kosovo Matt McAllester Part One: Survival Rations Night Light: El Salvador and Haiti Lee Hockstader A Diet for Dictators: North Korea Barbara Demick Siege Food: Bosnia Janine di Giovanni Miraculous Harvests: China Isabel Hilton Part Two: Insistent Hosts How Harry Lost His Ear: Northern Ireland Scott Anderson Weighed down by a Good Meal: Gaza and Israel Joshua Hammer The Price of Oranges: Pakistan Jason Burke Jeweled Rice: Iran Farnaz Fassihi The Oversize Helmsman of an Undersize Country: Israel Matt Rees Part Three: Food under Fire Same-Day Cow: Afghanistan Tim Hetherington Eau de Cadavre: Somalia and Rwanda Sam Kiley Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Afghanistan Christina Lamb Munther Cannot Cook Your Turkey: Iraq Rajiv Chandrasekaran Part Four: Breaking Bread The Best Man I Ever Knew: Georgia Wendell Steavenson Dinner with a Jester: Afghanistan Jon Lee Anderson Sugarland: Haiti Amy Wilentz My Life in Pagans: Ossetia James Meek The House of Bread: Bethlehem Charles M. Sennott Biographies Acknowledgments Index

About the Author

Matt McAllester is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a contributing editor at Details magazine. He is the author of Bittersweet: Lessons from My Mother's Kitchen, Blinded by Sunlight: Surviving Abu Graib and Saddam's Iraq, and Beyond the Mountains of the Damned: The War Inside Kosovo. He is also Visiting Professor of Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches international reporting. His website is


"In this riveting collection, correspondents share war stories through the lens of food and drink." Mother Jones "A fascinating read." -- Amanda Gold San Francisco Chronicle "An exceptional choice for those who enjoy finding out the hidden culinary lives of the people whom we read about in the daily press... Highly recommended." -- Aziz Fatnassi Indiana Food Rev

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