By now, readers know that Meherbai’s Mandli members were complete foodies and great travellers. So on the eve of World Food Day, which falls on October 16th, the Mandli gathered at the Parsi Gymkhana grounds, to discuss food they had eaten in different parts of the world, over Korean barbequed chicken sandwiches, bhajiyas and tea.
Meherbai: We have a tendency to eat with our eyes while travelling because in strange places, we are never sure of what’s in a dish and it can be somewhat daunting to try something that looks or sounds strange but actually tastes good.
Kety Cucumber: Arrey, talking of sounding strange, in Malaysia, I asked for extra milk for my tea and the waiter said: “Oh, you want SUSOO! “I replied that I wanted milk and not to visit the restroom (Which they called TANDAS) .What do you know? The word for milk is SUSOO. Even their milk-chocolate is called KOKLAAT-SUSOO. What’s more, their language is so funny that ghee is called ASLI and cow’s ghee is called ASLI–LAAMBOO (Laamboo meaning a cow in Malay!) Marerey Bolta Bi Kharaab Lagey!
Jealous Jaloo: (Who has never been to Malaysia?) Then don’t go to Malaysia so often, etlu badhu kharaab lagej toh!!
Aloo : Stop your Koklaat! I mean Kaklaat! Let me tell you all about South Africa where we had Bunny Chow—–No, it wasn’t a rabbit, but rajma beans stuffed inside a huge bun-bread like the soups inside the bread that we get in France and Italy.
Mani Meaow: In Melbourne, we had a lavish dinner of authentic local food when we cruised down the river Yarra. The next morning’s breakfast was during a baloon-ride flying slowly, on top of the world at dawn. It comprised sandwiches filled with fried-sardines and pink-champagne. We asked for some Adrak-Fudina Chai but they kept serving us pink-bubly at that unearthly hour. Who has that early in the morning? Unless you are Boman Bevdo?
“Don’t get personal. My Boman never touches liquor,” said Banoo Batak, defending her husband. “He only siphons off some money from my cupboard once in a way. No other vices.”
Chaadan Chibavli Chakli: I love to eat cheese and don’t tell me it’s loaded with cholesterol because I’d rather die eating cheese than from any other cause. I love Canadian and Red Cheddar but both are not in the class of Somerset Cheddar. My favourite is Mozarella which is made from buffalo-milk in Southern Italy. While we were driving through an Italian farm years ago, hubby and I had fresh Mozarella served to us in brown-bread with virgin olive-oil in place of butter. We also load our pizzas and jacket-potatoes with oodles of cheese. Also, cheesy French toast, cheese omlet and scramble eggs with lots of cheese. We say cheese all the time and not only when someone is taking our photograph. In selfies also, we don’t pout, as if to say ‘Doodh’, we say cheese!
Khursheed Khadhri: Now enough of cheese talk. It’s coming out of our ears. I’ll talk of chocolates. I’ve tried the very expensive Godiva chocolates but they are a much-hyped rip-off. All Dham-Dhol-ne-Maha-Pol. Godiva left us cold. My preference is any hand-crafted chocolate with hazel-nuts. My Jeebharu (better-half) likes Mozart chocolates from Vienna, but I like the Garden collection box of Ferero Rocher but certainly not the common Ferero Rochers which flood the market.
Mithoo Madamri: I hate chocolates and prefer other sweets like Pista-Baklavas of Turkey, Pavlovas from New Zealand and even our very own Indian mithais made in pure cow’s ghee or Asli-Lamboo as Kety from Malaysia taught us.
Aban Abbhan: What is Pavlova? Like a sweet pullow?
Mithoo: Arey nahin re! No Pullow or Biryani. Its’ a cake shaped sweet-dish named after the famous ballerina.
Aban: Gosh Mithoo, you know so much about repairing the mouth (Mohnu Samarvanu).
Mithoo: That’s because I’ve a sweet tooth.
Aban : You must be joking. Others have a sweet tooth. You have 32 sweet teeth! Even at our lunch parties and buffets, I’ve noticed that you have less of starters and mains and dive into the desserts like an Olympic swimmer.
Coomi Computer: Food is such a huge part of our travels. Ketlu jaanvanu maley! Aney ketlu navoo navoo khavanoo maley!
Kekoo Kaka: When I was in Karachi, seven years ago, we had excellent Japanese food at a restaurant like Sushi, Sashimi, Teriyake, Tepenyaki and Kurobuta Beef Steaks. In Lahore, my cousin Behram took us to a huge Chowpatti-like area called Anarkali where we had the softest melt-in-the mouth tandoories, chats and huge kulfis which they call kulfa.
Siloo talked of the dry chicken curry of Sri Lanka while Merwanji drooled over the baby-lobsters, giant crabs and tiger-prawns he recently had in Chiang-Rai.
Everyone became hungrier by the minute and ordered another round of sandwiches before going home for a proper Gher Nu Bhonu!