By Tara Narayan

I KNOW I have been waxing lyrical over Goa’s local bakery breads over industrial factory breads, but this is to say the better breads are still by and large made of white flour, alias refined wheat flour that is maida, it offers great looking breads but there’s zilch nutrition value in them even if we like or love them so much. Much of it is refined carbs, contributing to zooming blood sugar index of body beautiful internally (and what is internal impacts what is external). All carbs are sugars and what’s more after the industrial and agricultural revolutions mod con human beings started consuming industrial carbohydrate foods majorly…plus, wheat too got genetically modified.
More and more people realized the evil that we do in the name of power, profit and control and eating changed anew to eat more fibre-rich carbs, more protein and most of all greens, fruit, seeds, nuts. Wheat flour is not wholesome anymore as we knew it once upon a time when the earth was fertile and full of life-giving nutrients…so millets are the latest rage being promoted by the government and so millets which were once the dependable food of the poor have gone into the hands of the monied classes of utopia today as I interpret it.
Anyway, to stay with my own liking and some love for the baked bread of life, lately I’ve taken to picking up the assorted breads from the old Pereira at Kerant, Caranzalem and going over to my friend Elizabeth’s home so that we could feast on bread. She would take out the butter, cheese spread and would made a cup of fine coffee for me…we feasted on the assorted breads of poie, undo, lamb pau, square pau, katre and she confided in the old days when children wouldn’t eat mothers would soak the crisp kakon (or bangle bread) in water and when it had softened and melted it would be fed to the children…to give them strength.
Like I said, of course in the old days all bread was of wholesome wheat meal flour, no longer. Although I think the poie and kakon at some bakeries are of whole meal wheat flour…the poie usually is I find at the Kerant bakery, but only the poie. By and large most of us know now that breads like other simple carbohydrate foods just spike up blood sugar – that is, unless we complement it with a whole lot of other things such as the goodness of leafy greens, eggs garnished with spring onions, chopped herbs, like to stuff in a veggie cutlet or two and of course the meatarians like their lamb kheema-pao, etc, etc.
ACTUALLY, I think my recent orgy of local breads is over although the Kerant bakery remains my favourite. I remember in the 70s whenever I visited Goa as a tourist or for some trekking adventures, I would always return to Bombay with my baggage stuffed with a dozen odd Goan poie, which everyone in the family relished back then…23 years later now of course there is hardly any family left and I’m settled in Goa for better or for worse. Sometimes I dream of returning to Bombay for I’m a Bombay girl at heart!
But to stay with Goa’s traditionally bakeries I dearly wish they would expand a bit and also unleavened bread, that is freshly rolled cooked nachne bhakri or phulka. Millet breads are also welcome! So folk may get a wider and wiser choice of breads both leavened (baked) or unleavened (chappati-style) to eat combined with whatever sabzi or dal of the day they have cooked at home. This is making bread at home is labor intensive and most of us working class don’t have too much time to attend to kitchen duties too much nowadays, it’s also cost-effective to pick up bread or “bhakri” as the various unleavened breads are referred ot colloquially.
I don’t think it’s going to happen because Goa is addicted to its baked breads! Anyway, this is to say my friend Liz has forbidden me to buy and bring her any more bread when I drop in on her, no more feasting on bread, butter, cheese and the latest I introduced her to – honey mustard. Now she keeps the mustard and honey mixed in a container and it makes for a superlative spread, also slip in wafer thin slices of cucumber and tomato and a few arugula leaves in your poie sandwich – that’s a meal all on its own. Filling enough to be happy the whole day!
My new visit deal with Liz henceforth is instead of local bakery assorted breads I will get cut salads and we shall feast on salads! In the unbearable heat of this year’s Goan springtime which has turned rapidly into summer – one just feels like cucumbers, tomatoes, arugula or rocket leaves with their sharp crunch and if you like it a bit of freshly made green mango miskut pickle! A bit of tart is worth living for.
DON’T know if you have noticed it or not but quite a few of the younger generation folk are preferring to eat pizza instead of Goa’s breads or local bhakri offerings if one can find them. Makes me wonder if traditional bread and bhakri is being replaced by pizza in various avatar? I’m still exploring eateries new and old down Caranzalem street near where I stay, and I found yet another pizza place, one which makes whole wheat thin-crust pizza, the only one I have come across to date!


Is bread being replaced by pizzas for the younger generation? Several new pizza outlets have opened up down Caranzalem, Panaji… the latest is Open Kitchen Pizzeria & Deli, the menu offers whole wheat thin crust pizza temptations, do check out!

ONE of these days check out this neat place called Open Kitchen (near the petrol pump further down Caranzalem just before the old children’s park and Our Lady of Rosary Church). Passing by I stopped to step in and take home a Grilled Eggplant & Feta Pizza and was superbly flavorful complimented with a garnishing of arugula lettuce. I wish the eggplant slices were a little more substantial though! But on the whole very nice pizza. Pizza prices are more or less the same everywhere. This one was Rs350, standard large size pizza. .
The Open Kitchen menu also has interesting other things and I also like the sound of their roasted rosemary potatoes with sundried tomatoes and jalapeno pizza…next time! A garnishing of arugula (also rocket) lettuce is always welcome atop any pizza if you’re asking me. That’s the temptation with this new come-lately pizzeria and deli, check it out. Apart from their whole wheat thin crust New York style pizzas (one is to do with wasabi hung curd and rocket leaves) they also do some interesting burgers and something called “mini-politans” (Neapolitan flatbreads)…the place is well designed for chilling, refreshing small place to hang around some more!
And interestingly it’s run by a very savvy Bengali guy, Priyok Mitra, who’s from Coonoor down south India, in partnership with Jagmandeep Singh. From the sound of it Goa is the place to come and eat some international quality food! Some sinful desserts here too like Tunisian Orange Almond Cake (Rs275).

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