28 November, 2020


IF, in a restaurant, you told me that the chef had pounded the steak or mashed the potato with his feet, I would probably go for a salad. Images of the peeling skin and the repulsive pungency of athlete's feet would haunt the menu.

But I'd drink the wine without question. I know full well that the grapes of the best chateaux are pounded by feet, by harvest dancers in the presses of Bordeaux or Burgundy, but some act of maturity has made me ignore my squeamishness.

The only food I know that flies the flag of being prepared by foot is the Indian loaf of bread, referred to universally in western India as paoon roti or just plain paoon. In north India the euphemistic use of 'double roti ' adding a multi-plier to distinguish it from the thinner, chappati variety, is favoured.

It was a friend of mine, Sam Baria, whose pedi-hygiene in his Kolhapuri slippers was not the best incentive to confidence, boasted that he had got a job with a bakery at night and had spent it running in the same spot, pounding dough with his feet and sweating...



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