Meaty Matters

It’s Friday Food time at Priorhouse and the topic for this month is meat. This is a rather tricky item (and a contentious topic) in India.

Hinduism believes that our nature and behavior is influenced by the kind of food we consume and food is divided into three types. Tamasic, that which dulls the senses (meat, alcohol etc). Rajasic, that which excites the senses (caffeinated drinks, onion, garlic, spicy, oily food etc) and Sattvic that which leads to clarity of mind and improved health. This includes, water, cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk and honey etc. Hence, many Indians, particularly Hindus, consume only Sattvic food, i.e. they are pure vegetarians.

However, due to diversification and intermingling (and even health reasons) a subsection of these vegetarians, may consume eggs or even meat. But that is very occasional and is not cooked (or brought) at home. Furthermore, these ‘meat-eaters’ have a lot of restrictions imposed – no meat on certain days of the week (notably Tuesday) and during religious festivals, which occur at frequent intervals over the year and sometimes for days on end. Things become even more complicated in joint families, family get-togethers in the setting of cross-cultural weddings and growing diverse food preferences along with dietary restrictions due to heart disease and/or diabetes.

Planning a menu in such a scenario is enough to give one palpitations and sleepless nights!

Yet there are other communities who cannot conceive of a meal without their daily dose of meat. Bengalis, for instance, are (meat) foodies and are notorious for not following ‘no meat’ policy even during festivals. In fact, fish consumption is considered auspicious and even mandatory during certain festivals. Yet again, there are diverse rules and customs within the Bengali community as well – take my family and my in-laws for instance, but I digress.

Coming back to the topic, on this background, I wanted to share a story about my brother – a pure non-vegetarian 😀

When he was a little boy (and I wasn’t born), Dad took up a job near the holy town of Rishikesh, where meat consumption isn’t allowed (and neither is it available anywhere nearby). Much to my brother’s disgust and anguish. He complained loud and long to Ma and nagged her no end as his craving for meat sky-rocketed. She tried to distract him, coax him but he was like a dog with a bone (or without one 😀 ).

Frazzled and provoked, Ma finally snapped. “Fine! Eat my meat.”

There was silence whilst he considered the proposition.

He could see only one problem. “But Ma, who will cook it?”

Not only Bengalis, but even Keralites are fond of their (!) meat and fish. To avoid being similarly targeted, my friend Mymind – the warden of a boys hostel 😉 had a plan to cook chicken for lunch today. I saw my chance and jumped in – I asked for a photo.

Poor girl was under double pressure – cook and click. Troubles don’t come in singles or doubles – their society gas supply was shut down for maintenance.

Yet she managed!  Hmm – perhaps she put it on her head 😡 😅

Take a deep breath and feast your eyes 🙂

chicken-curry
Kerala style chicken curry courtesy Mymind – thank you!

Looks yummylicious doesn’t it? Oh well I am off to eat a pure vegetarian utilitarian lunch whilst picturing this dish 😀

How about you dear readers? What’s your favorite food or even better, a favorite food story? Or did I overlook something, or was factually incorrect, or do you feel under-represented? Feel free to vent and rant – the interaction on the jackfruit has left me hungry for more!

Enjoy your Sunday lunch and look forward to your meaty (or otherwise) stories!

Published by

Dahlia

Email me at mysilverstreaks@gmail.com or tweet me @mysilverstreaks

13 thoughts on “Meaty Matters”

  1. Lol!…vishesh tippani on me too!…
    Your brother’s story reminded me of a dear friend of mine(quite younger to me) who happens to be a great meat-lover….once when we were kids she was ghuroooing at this one person who seemed to have some extra pounds if you go by what the experts say…got curious and was shocked to hear her explanation…she was wondering if she could cook and eat that person’s thighs…quite boneless and more in quantity!

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  2. Your friend there certainly cooked a delicious chicken dish! Lots of sauce! I like meat, and chicken is my favourite meat, though. I’m not a huge fan of sauces though, preferring that juices be infused in my chicken and that is the way I like it. I like chicken a lot of ways – fried, steamed, boiled, and chicken breast is my favourite. Aside from chicken, I am a big fan of pizza 😀

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    1. Hi Mabel! Chicken and pizza somehow seem diverse unless you mean with chicken topping 😀 And what you have the chicken with. Over here, unless it’s fried chicken, it’s usually had with rice or some flour based preparation, very rarely bread. Yep! My friend cooks great – have had first hand experience! I wonder if sauce and gravy mean the same thing? And what do you mean by juice – cooked in spices?

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      1. I usually eat chicken with rice, unless I order a chicken noodle dish. If not, I like chicken with chips but I rarely have that unless it’s KFC. To me, gravy is always thick while sauces can be thick or light…I don’t know, now that you mention. Juice – like the natural juices that flow out of meats…something that you’d call the water molecules in meat turning into liquid for us to eat 😀

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      2. 😀 Oh well this clearly needs a lot of research and in depth study. As I see understand, juice (as you say is the meat’s own concoction of fat and water) that comes out when the chicken is say roasted. Gravy is what we call the liquid that is created by us using a mix of spices, oil, onion, garlic ginger tomato curd etc (this could be thick or thin) and sauce would be cooking the meat in bottled sauces with foreign (non-Indian) names – soya sauce Worcestershire sauce etc. Whew that’s as far as my knowledge of cooking goes…perhaps it’s time for the cook (s) to step in 😀

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      3. Oh my, you broke it down so well, Dahlia. Very clear cut. But still, it makes me think that sauces and gravies can be interchangeable… Mention sauce, I also think of fresh sauce like spaghetti bolognese sauce. You sure know your food and cooking. Much better than me 😀

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      4. 😀 Yeah well even I think sauce and gravy should be interchangeable but in my mind (of preconceived notions prejudices and half-baked ideas), gravy is what we Indians cook and sauce is what the Chinese make 😉

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