To servers with love

For the gourmet, a function means nothing short of a gastronomic delight, writes Sandhya Vasudev

wedding

An invite to a function invokes various thoughts in different recipients, all pleasant though. For the seniors and bored housewives, the social outing with the ensuing interaction with friends and relatives is something to look forward to.

Additionally it is a day off from the daily drag of the kitchen trail for the home-maker, unless she has other dependants, in which case she must necessarily cook before leaving. If it happens to be a holiday then it is some fun and revelry time for the kids and youngsters. Did I miss out on someone? Yes the most important of all, the gourmet.

In South India a traditional meal is served on a plantain leaf placed either upon a dining table, or on the floor for the orthodox lot.

Amongst menus, the South Canara Udupi menu is specifically elaborate with the items numbering from a minimum of 35 to any number, with some snacks given as takeaways, too, packed elegantly in a box.

The luncheon is an elaborate affair requiring huge manpower to serve the countless items to row after row of guests. For the guest, the tricky part is to secure himself a seat at the luncheon table. Many a time I have gone towards the assemblage of empty dining tables and chairs wading through the sea of humanity only to see them uncannily occupied by adroit guests. Once I even got to see a lady throw a flying missile (read handkerchief) on to a chair even as I was advancing towards it. My colleague once expressed that he had the chair pulled away from him by another guest who then nonchalantly sat on it. At another function, ever the reticent person, the same colleague ended up bereft of the full course lunch and had to make do with leftover items sitting along with the cooks.

Recently I had been to a grand wedding and witnessed the inevitable musical chair game at lunch time. The husband and I stood wondering what to do when two of my enterprising friends dragged me to a particular row where lunch was well under way and directed me, my husband and their own husbands to stand behind the persons having their fill, so as to quickly occupy the seats once they got up.

They opined that the other block of rows had just commenced and accordingly would end after a considerable length of time. I felt akin to a bodyguard right behind the lunching people, and suggested we all move away slightly, even as our sight was fixed on them. We later quickly occupied these vacated chairs, but my friends’ strategy went slightly awry as we were served, alas, along with the other rows which completed the current cycle a good half-hour later. The reason was a dearth of servers!

 

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