Food constitutes an important (and for many guests the only worthwhile) aspect of wedding celebrations – especially Bengali weddings. Often the success of a wedding is judged by the quality and variety of items served. I have often heard friends and relatives urge parents to get their children married off for no other reason than their desire to indulge in some good old fancy ‘wedding’ food!
The way to an Indian heart is definitely through food. But to be fair, we do love to feed others too. Till now, even a casual visitor to any home is rarely sent away without something to eat. And both are considered a slight – not to serve food as well as refusal to eat.
Earlier, food for all the days of the wedding festivities was prepared at home by the ladies of the house. Sweets were made by hired professionals (vien) installed at the house. Guests usually sat cross legged on the floor (later upgraded to tables) in long rows with plantain leaves in front of them. A stream of volunteers, usually young boys of relatives and neighbors, helped serve the numerous lip-smacking delicacies of the day. But nowadays, the catering services industry has more or less taken over the whole initiative and the traditional style has given way to the western buffet, at least in most of the metros and big cities.
However, once the wedding ceremony is over, the close family members of the bride and groom still sit down for their first traditional meal together.
Apart from the main course, which may offer any number of mouthwatering dishes (I once counted 30 main course items at a wedding), there are an array of starters and snacks to tease and appease the attending guests. These may be served by mobile waiters at the venue or be available at stalls very much like that in a market. The dessert section with its multiple offerings is the final icing on the cake (and needless to say most fattening and irresistible).
Most Hindu weddings shun non-vegetarian food during the auspicious occasions such as weddings. However, on the other hand, as mentioned earlier, a Bengali wedding is considered incomplete (and quite unacceptable!) without an array of the choicest non-vegetarian delicacies, particularly fish.
At the dinner, hosted by my in-laws for my wedding reception, had no vegetarian dish (apart from the dessert, of course) – nope not even the rice. There was quite a bit of a flutter when my in-laws came to know that among the guests were a couple (close family friends from my side) who were pure vegetarians!
By the way, today is the Bengali New Year – as you can see, all we can think of is food 😉
Bon appetit! Err not too much for me – I am on a diet 😀 But I do hope there is feast for my eyes in the comment section 😉
Wish you all a very Shubho Nobo Borsho (auspicious New Year), Kerala Hindu New Year (Happy Vishu) and Assamese New Year (Happy Bihu).
Quote of the day: “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
― Oscar Wilde