The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Jan 27, 2015

Indo-Lusitanian Feast

It was served by caterers à la russe, one course following the other. It was more chic, was in fashion in Panjim, and in Paris according to the aide to the Crown Procurator. Nobody, however, knew the convenience in India, where people perish from the heat, of a dinner à la russe. Perhaps there was the apprehension that the food would freeze with the heat. 
The priest, nevertheless, was annoyed with the fashion. He wanted the whole larder on the table including the ham in its sack, procured on a returnable basis if not consumed, "so that the abundance could be seen," he murmured with legitimate pride. 
But he compromised when told that in this way the guest ate less and could neither have second helpings nor eat just the best. 
Accustomed to the old practices, the good old man helped himself distractedly to what was on the table: sweets, fruit and would be surprised when the waiter offered him ham or risotto
When fish was served after the soups, he became indignant; he assumed he had been deprived of his arroz refugado which should have been served according to the old custom. "Fish is not for such dinners," he roared, since he could not envisage fish except in a curry or fried and served with fonchró, the common rice.

From the brilliantly acerbic satire on Indo-Portuguese mores in Goa at the end of the 19th century, Jacob and Dulce, by João Francisco da Costa (a.k.a Gip).


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