Gujjus and food go hand in hand. They are always talking about food. No matter at what time you land up in a Gujarati household, you will be offered food. If nothing is available then they will cook something for you. I remember mom cooking food for guests at 1 am. Proper thaali.
And they ate it. Even though they had had dinner en route. It’s a kind of sin not to offer food. Even bigger sin is to not eat it. And the biggest sin is to order food from outside. You HAVE to cook for your guests. And feed them more than they can digest. But they can in fact digest much more than that too.
Gujjus have weird food preferences. They have weird menus. They will serve you the weirdest combination you could ever think of. They will cook the weirdest dish you could ever imagine. They make Guava sabzi, sev ki sabzi, papad ki sabzi. They even make onion ki sabzi. They add aam ras to kadhi, dumpling can replace aalu in any damn thing, bananas are used instead of potatoes in all the jain preparations – the list is endless.
Their definition of dinner is another story. I remember mom making upma for dinner. Or even Poha. Yes. Just that. Or just Dhokla. Or Khandvi. Or Haandvo. Or muthiya. (Please google these terms, you will get the perfect idea of the dishes I’m talking about).
There was another dish – dumplings made in a kind of kadhi for gravy. And it was called Manchurian. When I came face to face with Manchurian for the first time, I refused to call it that. Later on realised that moms can be wrong too!
If you happen to live in a Gujju area, you will come across Jain version of all the possible dishes. Even Chinese food. I don’t know how is it even possible, but it is. Popular food chains to compromise in their menu just to serve Jain food.
Because the majority of the people eating out are Gujjus. And Jains don’t eat onion, garlic, and potatoes. In fact, a few Gujarati community people do not eat onion and garlic.
So far as eating habits are concerned, Gujjus have one ritual – they do not cook on Sunday evening. They have to eat out. And most of them (be it rich or middle class. There are no poor gujjus. You won’t come across any.
Even if they are poor, they will pretend to belong to the middle class.) will be spotted in some areas eating roadside food. In all the Gujju areas, you will find one Khau Galli (Eatery lane literally) selling snacks items that Gujjus usually call ‘Dinner’.
But one thing is there – you will rarely come across any Gujju who makes lousy food. They are gifted when it comes to cooking. And they will serve and feed anyone. Even if the person comes unannounced at their doorstep. Gujjus will usually land up at your doorstep unannounced.
During dinner time. Without having their own dinner. And after you are done with your dinner. And they cook fresh food, with a smile on their face. Good tasty food. Full thaali. Because it’s all about food for us. You are judged based on the dishes you served to your guests.
Meetha and namkeen have to be served no matter what. They are always stocked up at home. Usually homemade stuff.
Travel Agencies have special Gujju tour packages for abroad trips. They promise to serve Gujju food to their customers. When Gujjus go for one-day picnics or even tours, they have to pack theplas.
Even when I travel anywhere, mom packs theplas. Every time. Theplas are our elixir of life, to be had thrice a week in different meals.
Phew! I can write so much more. We live to eat. Literally. They say this about Punjabis. But Punjabis are more about the quantity of food. We are more about the variety. And weird combinations.
We think about food first when we plan a trip. Not the destination, not the journey, nothing. Is Gujju food available there? Or at least veg food? These are our first two questions when we plan a holiday.
Yes. We are awesome like that.