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Food for thought at culinary crossroads in Yemen

November 15, 2010 |  9:12 am

Each day, workers serve 1,300 pounds of beef and 660 pounds of vegetables to the roughly 4,000 diners that come through the doors at the Fakhi restaurant in Sana, Yemen. They come for the food, of course, but also for Abdulkarim Harazi, who has three wives, 18 children, a worn dagger and the humor of a man not done in by adversity.

When he speaks, his customers, sopping broth with soft bread, listen, knowing that no matter how circuitous or embellished the tale, there'll be wisdom waiting at the end.

 "You handle a big family with justice," says Harazi, pausing the way he does, eyes bright with mischief. "Justice means sleeping with one wife one night and another wife the next. This brings balance. Justice can't control some things, though, like the passion of the heart."

Read more in today's Column One tale by foreign correspondent Jeffrey Fleishman:

Photo credit: Nasser Arrabyee / Nov. 14, 2010