5 quick ground rules before we begin:
- Know your appetite. A typical Marwadi meal with sumptuous manwar lasts about 90-120 minutes. It’s best to not eat anything 3-hours before the meal. Wear comfortable pant! Seeing guests struggle with their pants is a sore sight.
- Saying no is OK. We will explore multiple methods below to do it with grace and preserve the host’s face.
- Use all your 5 fingers. Isolating a finger(s) when taking bites is a bad sign. Elders will read into it.
- Wasting food is frowned upon. You are expected to eat 100% of the meal. (An unusual trick is listed below to impress the host)
- You may be seated on the floor and sharing a single massive thaali with multiple people. The prana of your meal will be high so let go of your inhibitions and awkwardness.
Manwar begins at the door:
- Never be the empty-handed guest! Take a gift along with you for the host. A box of Badam Katli never fails!
- Only sip water. Guests usually tend to chug water (which is offered first). This zaps appetite; Many still shy away from using washrooms in new territories! (Bonus: practice to take a sip from the glass without using your lips and make sure the water doesn’t drop on your clothing or drool from your lips. Water must hit the back of your tongue first
At the meal:
- Eat fewer sweets and chew them slowly. (Trick: chew it longer. Count for 32 bites). Caution: Many guests start enthusiastically only to exhaust 40% of their appetite with just sweets!
- Pace your chewing. Be the slowest to complete a bite in the group. This will regulate your appetite and make the host think you are enjoying the food
- Let the ghee flow. Ghee is liquid gold! Allow all your fingers to be dripping with ghee throughout the meal. The food is refined over generations to work with umpteen amounts of ghee. Trust it.
- Make space to accommodate the hosts manwar! Plan and eat only up to 70% of your appetite! (You’ll become the host’s favourite!)
- Request the host to mix traditional Marwadi foods for you like Daal-baati, Sogra and jaggery, etc. They’ll happily hand-grind the piping hot food for you and teach you the best way to eat it too! This boosts your meals Prana!
- The trick to complete the meal 100% is to make a Gutta. Essentially mixing everything in the plate with Daal to create a unique combination. Request the host to make this for you! (They’ll be delighted!)
- Most Marwaris give up just before the Gutta and this is where you can stand out! Because you’ve planned and saved your appetite for it! It’s truly a one of a kind approach to manage wastage and the taste is unique in every bite!
Post the meal:
- The youngest in the group picks the thaali. Allow them to. If no one does, volunteer to pick the plate and keep it near the sink.
- Ditch the chewing gum, polo mints or a little foil packet instead, carry a beautiful, small silver box or silk pouch with unusual beetle nut (hard supari) and offer it to the group! They’ll be surprised and elated!
Ways to decline when the host insists:
- If you can and are willing, take a small bite as if you are tasting it instead of the full bit that’s offered.
- If no, ask the guest to give you something else that you liked! (Most will mentally thank you for saving their face!)
- If both are not an option. Decline like a method actor is rehearsing a dialogue: Repeat the exact sentence with the same tone, volume and pace. A typical host will offer you something a minimum of 3 times! Politely say: I’m full because I overate X/ relished Y/ saving space for Z.
- Avoid insisting on feeding something back to them or a verbal tussle. Instead, if everything fails accept the food and save it for the end. Let your appetite decide when the time is right.