Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Long ago I watched an Antony Bourdain show where he was invited into the home of an Inuit family in a remote part of Greenland in Quebec, Canada. They killed a fresh seal, brought it home, gutted the seal on the floor and proceeded to eat the innards of the seal. Then the host reverentially handed over the seal’s  eyeball to Bourdain who partook of it. The raw seal eyeball was delicacy, the best part of the seal. It was given to the guest as a gesture of friendship. The point was not so much in whether Bourdain ‘liked’ the eyeball or not but that he accepted that gesture. The offer of the delicacy and its acceptance was a bridge across cultures, a symbol of respect and friendship.
Here in Montreal, a lovely couple invited me, a newcomer, to their beautiful home. The hostess had earlier been to Marche Jean Talon and procured fresh food for the meal. She had also thoughtfully bought for me a particular food that I had once mentioned I had never eaten before. There on the balcony, in the soft evening light, over wine and beer, she placed plates of this food in front of us and showed me the unusual way of eating it. When I thought I’d finished eating I was told that within the remnants lay the best part of all – the heart. Then my host took my plate, helpfully cut up the core, speared something on a fork and handed it over to me.
“Here it is” he said, “Here is the heart”.
At that moment I remembered Antony Bourdain being given the seal's bloody eyeball. Because I was in Montreal I was given to eat an unusual flower with a heart in the centre, in another country erm, part of Quebec, I would have been offered something quite different. But whatever it was that was offered to me that evening, it was a beautiful gesture of friendship, a bridge between cultures and an invitation into a different world.

An excellent blog by a Montrealer >

Thursday, August 21, 2014


 ‘How do you say your name?’ they asked, looking at me curiously,
‘Is it Prr eye ya?’
‘It is Priya’ I said
Pwwrrrreeeya!’ they gasped delightedly, ‘Pwwwrrrreeeya!’