How do you like this version of Christmas Cake? It was tasting somewhat similar but the only major difference was the color which instead of being a bit whitish it was much brown is color. It’s made of Ragi (Finger Millet) uttered my wife as she smiled along with all her cousins who were waiting to see my reaction. Ragi cakes are not that uncommon in the state of Jharkhand and instead of flour, it has been used for making flatbreads as well as for cakes. I had obviously tasted the flatbread version but for me, it was something of a new experience when it comes to Ragi Christmas Cakes.
Traveling around the mountains of Uttarakhand had got me another chance in experiencing Ragi. It was for the very first time that I was traveling around this state and was very excited to see new places as well as to experience the regional delicacies.
Uncle Beeren or some prefer to call him Beeren Sadhu (Hermit) was actually not related to our family but had been a co-worker of my father thus had been a frequent visitor to our house. His appearance was somewhat like a cartoon character with a height of around five feet and a very thin and frail body structure. Strings of loose beard floated below his chin and paired with a smile made his face look real funny. Being from a rural village in south Bengal he had very less knowledge about the outside world and his every trip to the city was a big eye opener for him.
My first tryst with French Food happened during my trip to Senegal which is in Western Africa a predominantly French Africa. On a trip to St. Louis, I managed to try out some fantastic fish and other varieties of classic French cuisine. The memory of French cuisine was reignited once more last weekend when I was invited to be a part of Gout de France or I should say French food festival in Kolkata.
I was invited by The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel at their restaurant The Legacy Grill in Kolkata to be a part of a special evening celebrating French food what I was not aware was that the consul general of France in Kolkata Mr. Damien Syed would be a special invitee.
Valentine’s Day during school years was fun, with zero possibility of a girlfriend me and my buddies used to eagerly wait for this day just to see the fun that would unravel in front of our eyes. There were always senior boys in class (most of the time failures or repeaters) who would be the friend, philosopher and guide to us. They would weave stories up in the air just to prove that he was the guy which we all should envy on Valentine’s Day.
It’s a common practice during Christmas season to exchanged cakes with relatives. In fact every morning during Christmas week we would keep tasting different cakes thanks to these exchanges. For me however the most special cake exchange happens between us and the family of my paternal uncle who along with cake always used to give us a chunk of Salted Beef. Since childhood I and my father used to eagerly wait for this which we would devour with a piece of bread and cheese. This however had stopped for a good two years when unfortunately my aunt had injured herself and was unable to make salted beef. This became a point where my cousin brother decided to make their own portion of this fantastic Anglo-Indian classic.
Christmas is not always about cakes for us, it’s much more than cakes when it comes to the season’s cuisine. While most of these are influenced by the west some have evolved over the time to create its own taste. I have written enough about cakes this season thus decided to write about what else the Christian families of Calcutta or Kolkata eat or prepare during Christmas.