Meher Mirza is one of the guest speakers at the Gather event organised by BARO, Bombay Perfumery, and Paper Planes. The event, amongst other things, also celebrates the release of the new issue of Gather Journal (an independently published food magazine), a copy of which can be purchased from here.
TCS: Tell us about your relationship with food.
MM: Food is a distraction; food helps me focus. I eat to stave off an uncomfortable event or to celebrate a wonderful one. Food is work and fun. I eat all the time but I am rarely truly, gnawingly hungry.
TCS: Is there a food/ingredient that you think is misunderstood? Tell us why it deserves more love.
MM: White “chocolate” – I’ve tasted some good desserts that were drawn out of it. Instant coffee – because sometimes it’s enough. Basa, because… no, scratch that, there’s no defending basa. Ooh, and lunch! Breakfast is overrated, but lunch is everything.
TCS: Is there a fictional world you’d want to dive into for the food?
MM: Lots and lots of fictional worlds, and they change with every new book I read. But the one that remains more or less constant is a scene from The Park in the Park by PL Travers from her Mary Poppins collection, when Jane’s tiny plasticine feast transforms into a real one. A feast that even a king would be envious of.
“In the centre stood a two-tiered cake and around it were bowls piled high with fruit –peaches, cherries, bananas, oranges. One end of the table bore an apple-pie and the other a ham in a pink ham-frill. There were sausages, and currant buns, and a pat of butter on a little green platter. Each place was set with a plate and a mug and a bottle of ginger wine.”
Any Mary Poppins book never fails to hurtle me straight back to childhood.
TCS: Freshly brewed coffee or freshly baked bread – which evokes stronger emotions/memories in you, and why?
MM: I love both equally, but perhaps the smell of bread more strongly sparks my taste-buds and memories. It is a sort of slingshot to the time I spent with a beloved great-uncle in Adelaide last year, who asterisked our mornings in the city with his aromatic sourdough.
TCS: What are you looking forward to at the event?
Being on stage with some of the most erudite people in the food industry, and not convulsing with stage fright.