Pizza in India


The start of a new pre-Lent custom?

Perhaps a week ago at the supper table we were talking about Fat Tuesday and differing customs, and from that conversation I said that I would take everyone out for pizza the day before Lent begins.  There seem to be no local customs such as donut eating that we do in Milwaukee the day before Lent begins.

When our house cook had to return home unexpectedly (his uncle was seriously injured in an accident), we moved up our pizza day.

In the afternoon I gave Fr. Mariano some US dollars to convert for me to pay for the meal. He got a good exchange rate of 60 rupee for one US dollar. I was well armed with plenty of local currency.

On Saturdays adoration and evening prayer take place at 7:00 p.m. so the plan was that we would leave after that in the van and jeep. Fr. Jojoppa and one of the students would come later by motorbike as someone had to wait for the milkman to make his Saturday delivery. All together we had 20 people headed to a U.S pizza parlor. I was told Guntur has an honest-to-god Pizza Hut.

Looking back we probably should have held a class on what is pizza, and how to order it as there was some confusion when first we got there. The pizza parlor was not very large, but we managed to grab enough tables and chairs for the 18 of us who arrived first and saved room for the two coming later.

As for the pizza, it was similar in style to thick crust pizza or Chicago style. I’m not sure how each table decided to place its order but at ours we each ordered a medium pizza which would be comparable in size to the personal pizza one finds in Rome for example. At my table we ordered different combinations, like Texas Style, or Mexican, or Sicilian, etc.

As this is India there was a good selection of vegetarian pizzas on the menu as well. Best as I can tell no one went with vegetarian. Our drinks consisted of water though I had a cup of espresso at the end. No beer or wine is served, nor sodas, though one could get a fruit drink or what I would call an ice cream soda.

As it turned out, no one, with the exception of Frs. Mariano and Vimal, who studied in Rome, ever had pizza before. That accounts for some of the confusion we started with. I said to Fr. Mariano that it was funny to watch everyone at the other tables eat the pizza with a fork as pizza is certainly a dish that in the States that is socially acceptable to eat with your hands. For a group that, if given the choice, much prefers to eat with their hands I found it a bit funny.

We ended the meal with ––  yes, you guessed it –– ice cream. In an e-mail I received this morning one of my sister’s remarked: You seem to get a lot of ice cream. I just had the good fortune of being here for the month of February when the community celebrates six birthdays. I also think given the hot climate and hot food ice cream is appreciated.

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