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‘Lauren, we have a big problem, I need your help, we need to smuggle six eggs out of the house before my mother finds out’
I was booked into a house in Jaipur India, my Airbnb host was standing at my bedroom door in a state of panic. An English guest who had moved in a few days earlier had brought half a dozen eggs into the house, thinking he was going to be able to make a poached egg on toast or even an omelette. Oh dear, I thought, this is going to be a complicated operation. You may be wondering why the said eggs had been left in his bedroom and not in the kitchen, the reason being, the guest who brought them in, wanted to check with the family first that it was ok with him eating eggs as they were strict vegetarians. Now I am not talking about drugs here, I am talking about eggs, chicken’s eggs, but they may have well been cocaine by the look on my Airbnb host’s face. If his mother had discovered them, she would have thrown him out and called the egg police. If they at all exist?
Two years previous I decided to give up meat or at least cut down. It wasn’t hard as I had spent a month living with a Hindu family who were quite strict vegetarians. I did not mind, I felt better taking a break from meat and processed food, it had also helped me to shed a few pounds. It was around then that I decided that perhaps I should take becoming a vegetarian a little more seriously as I had read quite a lot about the health benefits. I tried to give up cheese and dairy also. To be honest I did quite well.
Travelling can be challenging though, you have to try new foods, it is not always easy and I confess I have occasionally succumbed to the odd cheeseburger. Something I would not normally eat yet available in most countries. I have never felt guilty because I know I consume at least 80% less of such food products than I used to and that has to be good, not only for my health but also for the planet, right?
Finding myself back staying with my Hindu family in Jaipur I have to say this issue is viewed in a slightly different light. To them , vegetarianism is their lifestyle and the chief enforcer of saying no to meat and dairy is my friends mother. A traditional Indian lady who is loving and warm but still the rule setter of the whole family when it comes to food and drink. Vegetarianism to her is part of her religion, this also includes saying a strict no to alcohol.
Now although these rules are enforced and everyone abides on the surface, we have had our odd moments of naughtiness. I received a text message from the son and his wife late one night, it was Xmas Eve.
‘Are you still awake?
‘Yes’ I said sounding puzzled.
Would you like a cup of coffee?
‘Why?’ I replied
“Because we have a bottle of rum’ explained their voices giggling with excitement.
So a bottle of rum was smuggled into my room on Xmas Eve, it was her son and daughter-in-law’s idea I might add but I was happy to partake. They smuggled it into my room and I had to hide the bottle in my knicker draw. Banned alcohol always tastes better by the way and I had forgotten that taste. We sat whispering like college students on my bed, it was kind of amusing.
Now another knock on my door. “Mother is out, she has gone to a wedding my host whispered, would you like to come out and eat eggs? Well I was hungry.
We sneaked out late, (not down a drainpipe) and drove down to the street, looking for a dodgy street food vendor who it was rumoured could turn out a great omelette. There he was with his hot pan and stacks of eggs, throwing in onions tomatoes and chilli, had this guy no shame? We stood in the shadows as we devoured hard-boiled eggs followed by omelettes disguised and wrapped up in paper plates. Boy those eggs tasted good. I just hope they are not addictive and we don’t get caught.
Why do things always taste better when you are restricted in having them. You know what I mean, chocolate cake comes to mind. In fact, I do not really drink, but because it was not allowed I found myself thinking about how wonderful the odd glass of vino would be.
It is the same when we go on a diet and restrict ourselves, saying a big NO to some foods. Why should the biscuit or forbidden piece of cake taste so amazing. I think I may ban apples from my diet to see if they taste better.
Recently I started a keto diet. Because I have restricted myself to low carbs and because I eat very little meat, I seem to be eating eggs. In fact I am getting sick of eggs. None of them taste like the eggs I ate that night in Jaipur from a dodgy street vendor on a dimly lit street corner.
It is all in the mind they say.
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