Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Parsee wine and dine

The following text was written for an English audience, as who else would even be curious about the subject, or quite so obsessed with knives and forks and the proper methods of meals.

A great improvement is now observable among the Parsees in their manner of eating. Formerly they sat on the ground at meals like the Hindoos, and took their food out of one brazen dish, on which the viands were spread in confusion. Now the table and chair, with all the accompaniments of a European dinner, are put in requisition. When large parties are given, the table is spread exactly in the English mode, instead of as formerly, when hundreds would be grouped upon the floor, each eating his dinner from a plantain leaf!

The Parsees, properly speaking, eat three times a day. In the morning, soon after their ablutions, they sit down to breakfast, which consists of tea, bread and butter, and eggs. Between twelve and one dinner or tiffin is served, at which rice and curry, with mutton, vegetables, and fish, are the principal dishes. The poorer classes are, however, content with simple rice and curry. Between four and five in the afternoon tea is again prepared, and the time for supper is between eight and ten. This is the most substantial meal of the day, and wines are then consumed in large quantities by those who can afford them; but it is a fact creditable to the sobriety of Parsees generally, that they drink no intoxicating liquors during the day.

---Dosabhoy Framjee

Parsees: Their History, Manners, Customs and Religion. First published in 1858.

That statement about the sobriety of Parsees is most telling. The true Irish inebriation as practised in India is a purview of Muslims only - most phenomenal drunkards under the crown. Close second: anyone from Delhi.

1 comment:

GRANT!PATEL! said...

This deserves comment!

---Grant Dammit!