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From High in the Mountains.
Nepal is a landlocked country in the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. Nepal has three distinct geographical zones – lowlands; hills, mountains, and valleys; and the Great Himalayan Range – with subtropical to alpine-arctic temperatures and wide variations in vegetation and animal life.
Most people in Nepal are farmers. They grow fruits, fruits, and other crops in the lowlands, where temperatures are the warmest. Rice and corn grow in terraced, or stairlike, fields in the cooler hill regions. And potatoes and barley are the staple, or chief, crops at higher elevations, where temperatures are the coolest.
The Nepal raise goats, cattle, and yaks for dairy products. Meat is eaten mostly on special occasions. Religious rules affect which meats people in Nepal eat: Hindus, who make up almost 90 percent of the population, do not eat beef, and Muslims do not eat pork. The Buddhist religion prohibits the killing of any animals but allows the eating of meat, so Buddhists hire butchers to slaughter animals for food.
A typical family meal in Nepal might include daal bhat (rice with lentil gravy) or chapati (a flatbread), steamed vegetables, and achaar (a paste of spiced pickled fruits). About 90 percent of the Nepalese people live in rural areas. They often lack electricity for refrigerators or for cooking, so they rely on dried foods such as grains, lentils, and beans.
People carry traditions and foods with them when they move from one place to another. You might recognize examples when you look at your classmates’ special family foods or at specialty restaurants in your community.