Idle surfing of television channels sometimes yields some gems that you may have missed, had you been out on the weekend and actually doing something fun, or meaningful, or whatever. Anyway, so the gem I came upon was this show about food, and not just food: the topic of discussion was bread.
An Irani Bakery in Bombay ’s Flora Fountain was the venue. The owner, a man who could only be described as the ideal baker, was explaining the intricacies of his special breads. He expounded knowledgably on the subject, throwing in an endearing smile every few sentences. He explained the logic behind the twist in his khari biscuits- something to do with preserving the biscuit in its entirety even after you dip it in chai. If it’s an ordinary straight khari, it crumbles and what are you left with? Nothing.
Then came the signature ‘brun pao.’ This specialty is known for its crisp, brown top that comes after several hours of a unique baking technique. The baker endearingly referred to it as ‘crispy’, making you want to rush to Bombay and beat down the doors of his bakery.
Asked about whole wheat bread, he let out a sigh. Tolerantly, he conceded that some people place an emphasis on health and insist upon brown bread rather than the traditional white.
At the end of his talk, you became wonderfully convinced that there is no trouble in the world that cannot be eased by hot, well-buttered, fresh pao and a cup of steaming chai.