Five pages of ideas to make the most of your Sun­day

Grow­ing up, Su­mayya Us­mani was a meat-lover but she’s changed. Let her show you why...

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - CONTENTS -

There was a time when my mouth would wa­ter think­ing of cured beef of any kind in a sand­wich, but how things change. I like to think I have evolved due to eth­i­cal rea­sons, but I also think it has a lot to do with chang­ing taste­buds and flavour ap­pre­ci­a­tion. My jour­ney to eat­ing more veg­gies is def­i­nitely sur­pris­ing me more than I thought. The fact that I crave veg­eta­bles now makes me think that any­one can change the way they eat. Once you ex­pose your con­scious­ness to new ex­pe­ri­ences, it’s funny how your mind opens up.

Re­cently, on a cin­ema trip, as I picked a veg­gie op­tion sand­wich, I was thrown by how much I savoured ev­ery bite, I re­alised that non-meat sand­wiches are much more sat­is­fy­ing. Tex­ture, lay­ers of var­ied flavour and an abil­ity to re­tain mois­ture makes most veg­e­tar­ian sand­wiches a much bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence that a dried-out meat slice sur­rounded with wilted let­tuce. When I think back to sand­wiches grow­ing up, in a meat-eat­ing cul­ture, my favourite was the street food burger sand­wich, bun ke­bab. Found on the heav­ing road­sides of Karachi, cooked

amidst car fumes and bel­liger­ent traf­fic, you’d spot a mas­sive cast iron grid­dle over an old cook­ing oil can firepit, a lone man sur­rounded by burger buns and pat­ties, who would re­li­giously start cook­ing up this Karachi favourite from 9am ev­ery day. Potato and lentil patty, lash­ings of pi­quant tamarind and fresh co­rian­der chut­neys, salad, all in the mid­dle of a brioche bun – this re­ally was the dream sand­wich to me.

When I think of dishes that I craved grow­ing up, it is funny that they were al­ways the ones where a vegetable was the star of the dish, bha­gar-e-bain­gan (aubergine and peanut curry), tamatar ka cutt (tomato and curry leaf warm chut­ney), aalo ki bhu­jia (spicy potato fry) and palak pa­neer (cheese and spinach stir fry).

Could it be pos­si­ble that I loved veg­eta­bles more than I knew and that the meat eat­ing was done by ex­pec­ta­tion? Maybe. But what I do know now is that though I do no like la­belling my­self, or re­strict­ing my­self eat­ing any­thing, I def­i­nitely de­fine my­self as a “de­fault veg­e­tar­ian”.

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