Altitude is one of those subjects like traffic: everybody in Kabul has an opinion about it.
It becomes a target of abuses and a pretty easy scapegoat for a number of different things.
Such as hangovers on Friday mornings. “I did not drink that much, it is the altitude: alcohol gets to your head much faster here, it is because Kabul is so high up” you may hear people say.
My first disgruntled encounter with altitude was one evening while I was trying to make Mercimek Çorbasi – the Turkish lentil soup. It is generally one of my last minute dinner solutions and thought it was ideal on a very cold night. Once I put all the ingredients in the pot and set the fire low, I went back to my computer thinking that I would only wait for half hour and dinner would be ready. Three hours and much swearing later, I was still staring hard at the pot hoping that the water would boil and the soup would cook. It was at that point that, with his imperturbable aplomb, Lorenzo came to the kitchen and uttered: “Of course it takes time to boil, it is because of the altitude!”
Now I know why people are so fondly supportive of pressure cookers.