March 24, 2007Aside

Sunday Levity: New Delhi BBQ

Freedom at steak

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Mark Straub says he came to India in search of greener pastures. It was okay as long as it was just the pasture. The difficulties began when he wanted to eat cow.

First of all, the concept of a barbeque grill” does not exactly translate into vegetarian Hindu culture. When you say barbeque” here, people think Tandoori. There is, however, something called an anguiti (pronounced like on guillotine” without the n” at the end), which is essentially a small steel box used by Muslims for cooking kabobs. Forget trying to buy a gas-powered Weber here; they don’t have them.

So tonight on a poorly paved road half way to the airport I visited a small vendor who was selling kabob anguitis and other metalworks that he had scattered alongside the street. My driver helped me negotiate down the price for two anguiti boxes from $25 to about $14 and then we went off to find charcoal.

At the same time I was fielding phone calls from my meat man, Salim, who was recommended to me by a meat-eating colleague at my office (only Muslims will sell you beef here, and you can’t just pick it up in a super market, you have to know a guy”). Salim apparently catches static from Hindus who find out he’s dealing in beef, so you have to call him on a cell phone and arrange special pickups and deliveries, and when you are given his name and number by a reference, you are asked not to share it except with potential customers (you’d think I was trying to buy crack). And of course, he doesn’t work on Fridays (the Muslim holy day) so on Saturday he has a full day of deliveries - this means you have to work your barbeque timing into his schedule. [BankerinIndia]The Acorn shares Mark’s anguish: they who have not eaten a nice juicy steak on a Friday evening have not lived!

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