Give us our daily bread

Oct 16, 2021 | 5:20 AM HIST

Give us our daily bread

In Goa, the good morning begins with the horn of the “Poder” on his rubber ball-shaped horn on a bicycle, the hard worker hastily munching on his brown wheat bread known as “Poie or Bakri” dipped in. black tea, some elders prefer to eat a hard crust ring-shaped bread called the “Kankon” which translates to a bracelet. The white-collar office enthusiast will appreciate his leisurely breakfast accompanied by his hot white ‘pão’. The ‘pao’ as it is now called {anglicized pronunciation without its usual tilde (~)}, is emblematic of the Goanese culture ‘soussegado’. Bread making was brought to Goa by the Portuguese, the Goans who migrated to Bombay, now to Mumbai and other parts of India, carried out this trade with them and were called “paowalas”. The Carvalho family set up the first mechanized bakery in Byculla Bombay called “American Express Bakery House”. No food tour of Goa would be complete without the spicy ‘Chouriço Pao’. In Maharashtra, ‘Vadda Pao’ has become its symbolic food, even bordering on ‘baji Puri’.

Bread has great biblical and religious significance for Christians, breaking bread and sharing shows, the community spirit of Christians. At Mass, Communion (bread) is served in memory of the sacrifices of Jesus Christ on the cross. After having fasted forty days in the desert, the devil comes to tempt Jesus to eat bread to satisfy his hunger and the famous saying which follows: “man does not live on bread alone”.

Historical research points out that bread was first made thousands of years ago (14,600-11,600 BC) near Jordan, bread making then spread to Egypt. With the conquest of Egypt by the Romans, bread making spread to the Roman Empire and became a very profitable business, Marcus Virgilio Eurisace, a Roman slave, became so wealthy and prosperous that he built an extravagant monument for him and his wife Atistia in central Rome. (at Porta Maggiore behind the ancient Aurelian wall), illustrating the process of making bread. The importance of bread (pão) is underestimated, it can make or break governments, during the French revolution there was a shortage of food and the peasants came to beg for bread, Queen Marie-Antoinette heard and in her simplicity replied, if there is no bread let them eat cake, this exasperated the crowd, King Louis XVI was dethroned, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette lost their heads (executed) in a guillotine.

Going back the clock in Goa history, a plot was hatched by the clergy and some close associates, known as the Pinto Plot, the plot was to supply poisoned bread to the Portuguese garrison, but the baker who was supposed to deliver the bread got nervous and revealed the plot. The Portuguese authorities arrested and punished 47 people, fifteen conspirators were executed in a public square near the current Panjim post office. Some of the conspirators disguised themselves as British territory. The famous Abbé Faria (hypnosis) and his father fled to France.

Bread is a very important element in the diet of the poor.

Here are some logical solutions, why can’t we let the prices of bread float with the increase of raw materials and labor, oil prices have increased enormously, transportation is an important component of the price of bread.

Taxi operators are allowed to increase fares frequently, even arbitrarily and with free meters, why can’t bakers receive subsidies to buy firewood. Forests are cut indiscriminately eg Mopa, three linear projects, road widening etc, these can be given to bakers free of charge; grown from the ground to the threads of the ground.

Going in an electric oven doesn’t seem like a good option, with constant power cuts in the middle of baking the bread may not be up to par. With the rise in gas prices, this will only burn holes in the pockets.

Formerly, the baker (Poder) moved in the village from house to house on foot, dressed in a long robe called “Kabaya”, with a basket of bread on his head and a large bamboo stick, threaded with a ring. of copper paisa coins, the bakers walked with a heavy awkward door hitting the stick hard on the ground, causing a loud clang to attract the attention of the village buyers. At that time, bread came in all shapes and sizes, oval, oblong, square (forma pão), four-corner (cartre pão), donut-shaped bread called (Cancon), a rustic sweet bread called ‘Podera Bol’ and crispy cookies called ‘Bolach’ were made from jaggery coconut and coconut grog as all healthy and healthy foods, the traditional flatbread called (Poe or Bakri) is made from wheat, sprinkled with wheat husk, it is considered the bread of the class work and the bread of the poor, with diabetes on the rise, it is the food that has become the favorite food of diabetic patients, due to its low glycemic sugar content; however, because wheat flour is more expensive than white flour (maida), bakers from neighboring states make it from white flour and add a dark colored tint to camouflage it as wheat bread in total disregard. of the health of diabetics, without scruples profit being the only motive. Each country has its traditional bread France-baguette, Germany-Bretzel, Poland-Bagel, Italy-Pizza, etc.

The pão de Goan must be made according to its old traditional methods, fired in a clay wood oven (Forno) to retain its authenticity and taste. When we get a Unesco heritage label, to the humble Goan pão and poder, I can toast “Viva” (vive) “the Goan pão and the poder). ‘Viva re Viva’.

(The author is a lawyer and social activist)

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