On 31st August it was Ramadan (or Ramzan as it’s referred to here in India) when Muslims celebrate the ending of the month of fasting. Normally it’s not an an event of note for me except that this time I was lucky enough to be invited in to the home of a Muslim family and eat with them.
The traditional Muslim food is mutton biryani and they cook it by the bucket load. I was advised to wear special stretchy pants before I came because I was expected to eat a LOT and yeah, they weren’t kidding. The food was served on a banana leaf because that was traditionally used for serving food (in actual fact the entire banana tree is used for some purpose or another, not just for the fruit it produces) and it sure beats paper plates in terms of the environment.
On the banana leaf in the picture below there is mutton biryani, chicken 65 (so called because it’s supposedly 65 days old), brinjal and raita. The absence of cutlery means one thing: you eat with your hands. In actual fact there was cutlery available but the family thought it would be far more hilarious to watch this foreigner try and use his hands to eat rice, something which I not only failed miserably at but also completely failed to keep any ounce of dignity while trying to do it.
Not content with the huge amounts of food that had been placed on my plate, I was given a massive bag which contained enough food to feed the entire Indian army for a month and was affectionately referred to as a “midnight snack” incase I got hungry later! I’ve taken a quick photo of all the food given to me for the ‘snack’, but actually better served me as lunch and dinner the following day. And the day after. And the day after that.
In the photo below we have a whole load of yummy stuff. Starting from the top left and working clockwise we have a dessert called gulab jamum, which is definitely not made from cottage cheese (sorry readers, a little inside joke there), then there are two boiled eggs in a tangy paste, then some more fried chicken 65, then another dessert which I don’t remember the name of, then 45kg of mutton biryani, then another dessert called payasam and finally a bowl of raita. Oh, and you’ll probably recognize the Cadbury’s chocolate bars so no need to explain them!
Wow, so much food and so much hospitality. You’ve never known true hospitality until you’ve visited an Indian family home. In this case I was taken in and made to feel like part of the family, fed until I could eat no more and then given even more food to take back with me. I lost two kilos in August from going to the gym consistently, looks like I’ll need to do it all again in September to shed the 2kg I put on from all this food!
Thanks to my adopted Indian family for taking care of me on Ramadan, making me feel so welcome and making sure I wouldn’t go hungry for a week!