When we construct artificial walls of intolerance and religious differences to wall out other communities, all we really end up doing is walling ourselves inside. Amongst a million other things that we remain ignorant of about the Bohra community, here are things about their unique food culture that we should know about;
1. The Thaal
This many people do know about. Bohra families eat their meals together in one large metal plate, instead of eating in separate plates. The act stands representative of solidarity and unity, and propagates the value of sharing with others.
2. Table Manners
It is customary for everyone, men and women alike, to cover their heads while eating. A set of special utensils, called the chelamchi lota, is passed around for everyone to wash their hands. The food isn’t served before any member of the family is seated, for it is their belief that sustenance from God is a blessing that must not be ignored. Moreover, while eating from the thaal, family members must wait for everyone to finish their meal before getting up.
3. First Course: Dessert
The Bohra community eats dessert before they move on to their appetizers and then the main course because it is thought to be auspicious. Halwa and Malida are few of the desserts that are common, especially on occasions such as the first day of the Bohra calendar.
4. Tasting The Salt Before And After The Meal
It’s a Bohra tradition to taste a pinch of salt before meals. Not only does it help clear the taste buds, but it is believed to prevent and cure many prevalent diseases. According to one tradition, it helps cure around 72 diseases.
5. Boiled Meat
Their practice is usually to boil meat instead of grilling or roasting it. Perhaps it has something to do with the meaning that the consumption of meat holds for them- its considered a devout action.
Their communal values and beliefs reflect in their food culture. It’s not just interesting and intriguing, it’s beautiful.