This Is Not a Bhaji Omelette

Bangladesh was one of the family’s least favorite posts.   I don’t know what happened there, many expats loved it.   One of the things I  didn’t like was that women were not welcome in the open market.  Decent women stayed at home, sending their husbands or houseboys out to shop.  If a woman was in the market she was considered trashy or worse and subjected to pinches and “accidental” slow brushes up against her body.

I tried to rebel against this restriction by taking my very mean driver to the market with me.   At the first attempt of sexual intimidation by some market dacoit, my driver made it clear (he actually slapped the thug to the ground) that this type of behavior was unacceptable and I wasn’t touched again.  But the market was completely ruined for me after this incident and I didn’t return.

Bangladesh is a strict, Moslem country with no pork or alcohol served in restaurants.   For this reason, many foreigners belong to clubs;  American club, Australian club, International club, British High Commission club, etc.  We belonged to 4 different clubs but our favorite was the British High Commission.   It was the first time we had a close up and personal look at the British people and we thought they were some of the funniest and fun to be with people in the world!  I loved their pub quizzes and the fact that they always chose me for their teams to answer the American questions which was such a joke, because I never knew the answers 🙂   Still, as a matter of form….

At work or formal diplomatic receptions, our cousins can seem reserved or even cold. But don’t be put off by this work persona, it’s just that the British have a refined sense of ceremony and propriety.  Most of the diplomats at the High Commissions have OBEs or some other initials after their names, so when at work they are probably asking themselves, “What would the Queen do?”  Outside of work, they are just like everybody else!

We were always invited to the Burn’s Night and St. Andrew’s Balls which were wonderful affairs with pipers flown in from Scotland, along with the haagis and Scotch whiskey. There were 2 bottles of whiskey on every table, men in kilts, stockings and very chic jackets and country dancing, whether you knew the steps or not!  No, Bangladesh was not our favorite country but we certainly met some of our favorite people there.

Anyway.   I didn’t like the food in Bangladesh except for the shingara, which is potatoes fried in dough and the bhaji or vegetable omelette.   They used a bizarre flavored, small, green hot pepper in most of their cuisine that I never liked.   When eating out, we would go to Indian, Thai, Korean, Japanese or Chinese restaurants but never to Bangladeshi.

This morning, for some reason thinking of a bhaji omelette, I poured the spicy Moroccan lentils over hard boiled eggs and tomatoes for breakfast.   I wonder if Roger will want to know?

About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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11 Responses to This Is Not a Bhaji Omelette

  1. ambrosiana says:

    I am not keen on Blangladesh cuisine…but this dish sounds delicious. If I was sent on a Mission in Bangladesh, I would have felt the same as you!! (and Oh ..yes!! I would have rebelled as well). I don’t like it where women are forbideen to pursue a normal life. And I agree with you about British people. Once you get to know them, they are so much fun. I love their wicked humor!!

    • Indian cuisine is a lot more interesting Amb. Maybe it’s because Bangladesh is such a new country and they haven’t had time to firm up their cuisine, separating it from Indian and Pakistani. I say, dump the pepper 🙂

  2. Katherine hates going to the market, but she’d hate not being able to more. (The one on the riverfront in the summer gets so crowded and Katherine hates seeing people take their dogs and young kids in the summer when it’s so hot she thinks it borders on cruel.) Anyway, it was good that you had some respite, but I would’ve not enjoyed many parts of that post either. The potato dish sounds wonderful and this is a great breakfast.

  3. ceciliag says:

    i want to know what you are having for dinner! But am most impressed with the two bottles of whiskey on the table!! those must have been merry/messy nights! c

  4. Anna says:

    That thing atop the hardboiled egg seems delicious…Haven’t been to Bangladesh but had the chance to talk to a lot of them while visiting the MidEast…I can say there will be a lot of adjustments to the way women will be treated since the world is going digital nowadays. The internet opens new doors not just for women but for people to be more adaptable to newer concepts and ideas…

  5. I’ve never had Bangladeshi food..the experience at the markets sound harrowing…but thanks for sharing your interesting experiences there!

  6. I was searching the internet for recipes on eating lentils for breakfast – because I had a massive amount of leftover lentils post-dinner – and came across your site. This souds absolutely delicious and I’ definitely going to try this for breakfast!
    Sounds awful though, the whole market thing. Can’t say I’m surprised really but it’s sad that things has to be that way. Kudos for trying to go there anyway! 🙂
    Lovely blog you have by the way!

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