Better Than I Expected

It is the beginning of the year and it seems like this is a good time to address a topic of the highest importance in a boarding school: the food. Kids have arrived, unpacked their belongings, packed them again to go to Anandpur, and now they’ve started to settle in. Now, as the routine starts, anything can start a debate. So it is with the food.

What do we eat at MPA? I asked a 10th grade student, who gracefully agreed to answer – he was done with his homework during study time, so I just had to corner him. Here’s what he wrote about the food at MPA:

“The food at MPA is good, and better than I expected. There are different Indian dishes depending on the day, it seems. For breakfast, there are things like parantas, yogurt, and different fruits. There is tea and milk and cereal, sometimes. So far, for lunch, there has been dhal, roti, yogurt, soup and different fruits and vegetables. For dinner, there are other Indian dishes. I don’t know what they are called, but they are good.” –Dharam Bir Singh Khalsa, 10th grade.

I like the expression “better than I expected” because we all heard rumours and stories about the food at MPA, and it just highlights the fact that, like every aspect of daily life here, people, whatever job they do, including cooking or washing the dishes, do their best. It might not be perfect, and your child might be complaining because there is too much of this or not enough of that, but, at the end of the day, the kitchen staff strives to offer the best food possible.

So, forget about fresh lettuce, crunchy broccoli, not to mention decadent chocolate cake, and enjoy dhal, roti, cumin rice and yogurt. And it does change every day of the week, so you can have kitcharee on Wednesday, lasagna on Thursday, or burgers on Friday. There are also fresh fruits –apples, bananas, papayas, etc.– served during the meals and always available upon request. Let’s also mention drinks, such as yogi tea or fresh juice and yummy snacks served during milk break.

I myself went into the field to observe faces during mealtime. Well, dear reader, I saw quite a lot of happy faces, both students’ and staff members’… but some were missing. I guess they were using one of the caretaker kitchens to cook their own food, because that is also an option, thanks to the kindness of the staff. And in the event that the kids wouldn’t or couldn’t cook or endure one more bite of anything that falls under the label “Indian food”, they can order pizza on weekends or get a Subway sandwich in town. So, who said the food was bad at MPA?

Meherpal Kaur