Sunday, 15 January 2017

A New Year Breakfast

-Brian Mendonça

How does one host a breakfast for 20 people? This was the question which loomed before us.

We were keen to host a group of people who were breezing into Goa for a few days. The only free slot in their frenetic schedule was a few hours after the Mass on Sunday before they rushed to catch the train back in the early afternoon the same day.

We decided to go ahead and host breakfast as a gesture of goodwill. I racked my brains on what is usually served on these occasions. Colleagues gave helpful suggestions. The previous day Queenie asked me to get 2 dozen eggs, Heinz beans, pork salami and pork frankfurters (alas, the sorpotel was just over). To that I added my old favourite – corned beef.

Early morning the next day, the day of the dreaded breakfast, I rose and stalked the breadman who trundled his cycle up the path at a few minutes past 7. Prior to that, another breadman on a motorbike came along shattering the stillness of the dawn. He honked perfunctorily, but I balked at this brash behaviour of busking bread.

I picked up 40 loaves of bread, 10 of katre pau (scissors-shaped bread), 10 of poes (coarse-wheatish bread), 15 of mou pao (soft squarish bread) and 5 of hard toasted bread. In addition I picked up 10 poes for an aunt who loves to carry them back with her, and savour them at home. The weight and volume of my cloth bag assured me that even if the breakfast was a disaster they would appreciate our fine taste for Goan traditional breadmaking.

For 8.30 Sunday Mass in Konkani, Fr. Joaquim Fernandes, Chaplain at Candelaria chapel, Porvorim preached about the 3 kings. He made his own 3 wishes on behalf of the laity for the new year, viz. prayer – so we may always discern the will of the Lord; participation – to involve oneself in activities to help the community and lastly, positivity. When we are discouraged we droop into negativity and in the loop, unwelcome things happen to us. If we choose to be positive, we spread positive energy and good things happen to us. I decided to make these wishes for 2017 my own.

Queenie asked me to get some idlis.  Things fell into place in my mind. Breakfast was either Western or Indian or both. It was 9.40 a.m. For the Goan touch I slided into Cafe Kalpana opposite Holy Family church and picked up chillies fried in batter, and vegetable samosas. Then came idlis, puri-bhaji and upma (10 plates each) from Sanskruti Restaurant. At home, boiled eggs, and corned beef was ready. Tea vessels were boiling away on the burners.

The New Year breakfast was hearty, though most protested there was too much to eat. Some gallants swigged away at Blender’s Pride. What food was remaining, the group carried with them on the train. There was no wastage and even the security staff on duty relished a surprise lunch! 
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 15 January 2017. pix courtesy casasusegad

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