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India: Dining family style in Jaipur

Every restaurant on the Globus tour featured delicious Indian food, but one of the most memorable meals happened at a home-hosted dinner with a local family in Jaipur.

Walking into their home, I saw many things typical of a Western-style house but other things more fascinating, such as small statues of Hindu gods.

The house held several generations under one roof, as is common in India. I listened as the family explained the benefits of having grandparents and siblings helping with the daily chores and family issues.

While touring the rooftop deck, I noticed wild monkeys on a nearby house.

“You have to watch out for the monkeys,” said our hostess. “They sometimes hiss at you and will steal things from you if you let them.”

Slightly disappointed that the monkeys were not as friendly as they were cute, I listened to more stories from the family in the living room area.

When asked, I volunteered to be a model for a sari-tying lesson. Although the hostess promised that it was easy to turn the beautiful piece of cloth into a wearable dress, I confess I started to forget how after the fifth step.

Once dinner was ready, I helped myself to the family’s home-cooked buffet of flavorful Indian food. After stacking my plate with naan, lentils, curry and tandoori chicken, I tried to savor each bold flavor.

“I like you,” said one of the older family members to me as I scraped my plate clean. “You like to eat.”

I proudly accepted this compliment. Food as wonderful as I tasted in India deserves to be properly enjoyed.