Big Old Biryani

So, the time is fast approaching.  We are very close to boarding a plane and setting off to foreign climes – namely India and Chennai.  Just over a month.  This means our final meeting is also approaching apace.  Due to various set backs my visa has only just been returned to me complete (but I do now have it in my hands!), and fundraising is still in progress.

Indeed it is fundraising that I wanted to discuss.  For last Tuesday I spent much of my day in the kitchen.  I lined up spices; I chopped vegetables; I made lamb koftas; I fried onions; I cooked rice; and I created a feast of biryani, veg korma and sag aloo for 15 good friends.  The aim?  Well, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t aim to raise money, but it was also to enjoy eating with friends.  There is something very special about eating together.  And in this situation I also prompted the eating of our meal with our hands.  That’s the way they do it in India, so that’s the way we should do it here!  Not everyone agreed with that sentiment, but it was fun to watch those who did struggle with the rather wet korma.  There is certainly a knack to it.

Food is wonderful, and eating with others is one of my favourite things in the world.  It is one of the things I enjoy most about going to India.  Taking a group of people to a new country and getting to eat new foods with them is really exciting.  It is also really exciting to be able to eat with the boys in Kottivakkam.  We are generally quite careful about what we eat when we’re in India, but we also make sure that we have at least one occasion when we can sit down with the boys and eat alongside them.  The first time that I had the opportunity to do that was extremely special.  It feels like such a privilege to sit on the floor with them and chat (as much as we can with our minimal Tamil and their broken English).  I think it is something to do with the intimacy of eating together.

Well, back to my main point, which was the lamb kofta biryani and my 15 friends.  It was so good to have the opportunity to talk about Chennai Challenge to people who perhaps don’t know that much about it.  Their response was overwhelming.  I asked for people to donate what they would normally pay for a takeaway.  Bearing in mind that 2 of us ate for “free”(we bought the ingredients) so only 13 people were donating, I think it is quite special that we managed to raise £203 in one night.  That’s an average give of £16.  Hopefully some of that money can go towards buying food for the boys, and one biryani will lead to another!

What’s your favourite eating experience?  I have talked about food on here before (because I love it) and gone through some of mine – a birthday meal at Roast, eating in Yelligiri in India, Biryani with the boys.  Add your comments below – what is your favourite meal, and who are your favourite people to eat it with?

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