All That Glitters

Posted on May 2, 2017 under Storytelling with one comment



When it comes to food , we are, by and large, creatures of habit. The food we eat and our eating patterns are quite predictable. We tend to eat at the same time every day. Growing up in a big family, you could pretty well count on meat and potatoes, a few cooked vegetables and a home made dessert six days a week. If you were Catholic, you ate fish on Friday.

Way back in the 50’s, the only “fast food” was KFC. Maybe once a year, dad would arrive home with a barrel filled with “ eleven different herbs and spices.” These days, in many small towns across our nation, you can get many different kinds of food, such is the popularity of eating out. And if you happen to be traveling in a major city, then you can get cuisine from any part of the world.

After spending nearly six months in India, my palate was craving something from back home. India is a huge country and the food from state to state can be very different. I sampled food from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi, Rajastan and Bengal. There wasn’t a single meal that I didn’t enjoy. I even managed to sneak in a few Domino’s pizzas in Hyderabad.

So when my brother Don announced that he had found a good breakfast restaurant in the bazaar district of Delhi that served North American fare, I was all ears. He specifically mentioned that they served pancakes. I love Indian breakfasts. It’s a toss up between, idli served with chutney and sambar, masala dosa, or poori as my favorites. But the thought of pancakes had me salivating and you know what it’s like when you get a hankering for something. You just have to have it… and soon.

We took our seats in the hotel’s immaculately clean dining room. Two piping cups of black coffee were placed in front of us. Anticipation was rampant as I opened the menu and there it was . The picture was quite stunning. A large stack of buttermilk pancakes was crowned with fresh fruit, a hint of whipped cream and a drizzling of maple syrup.  I had visions of Oxford blueberries, Taylor’s strawberries, Haveracres maple syrup and a dollop of whipping cream… like the good stuff we used to get from Eastern Dairyfoods down at the end of College Street back home. I’m not sure if my heart was racing from the caffeine or the anticipation of a heavenly feast. Just for badness, I ordered the banana pancakes.

I have eaten a lot of bananas in India. There are many different varieties but at the end of the day, a banana is a banana.

Another splash of coffee and we were ready for the piece de resistance.

The waiter approached our table. At first, I thought he has gotten confused and should have been delivering our tray to another table. I looked down at my plate. The contents in no way, shape or form, resembled pancakes.

I have eaten a lot of chapattis in India. It is quite possible that I have eaten over 500 of them as they are served at almost every meal. I love chapattis especially when they are served with a zesty curry dish or spicy lentils.

My pancake consisted of one flattened chapatti filled with one sliced banana inside. I stared in disbelief and disappointment was etched on my face. The waiter walked by. I grabbed the menu and pointed to the picture and then redirected my gaze to my plate. “ Oh no. We don’t serve those kind of pancakes in this restaurant, ” said the pleasant young man.

When I got back to my room later in the day, I flicked on 98.9 XFM to listen to the Saturday morning show with Joe Chesal. That very day , the annual pancake breakfast was being held in the tiny hamlet of Kenzieville, complete with some old timers playing the fiddle. I checked my watch. With the 8.5 hour time difference, it was possible to fly home and maybe make it to the last setting.

I will refrain from ordering “Fresh Atlantic Lobster” at the hotel restaurant. I just might get a chapatti with some sardines.

All that glitters is not gold.




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One Response to All That Glitters

  1. Anna Mac Donald says:

    Glad to see you are back on the radar.

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