The intelligentsia (as defined by Wikipedia) is a social class of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them. You can very well attribute this term to the Bengali society who fits this definition quite well. But what does a timid and herbivorous (although Bengalis think goats to be omnivorous – chhagole ki na khay) mammal like goat got to do with this elite group of people? The answer to this is well known to all of us – Bengalis love goat meat. Although in other parts of the World, goat milk and milk products (cheese) are also extremely popular, but we the Bengalis don’t care much about the milk. It is the meat that is most important to us – the ultimate food in any Bengali plate. Historically, goat meat is the only kind of meat that Bengalis (especially the Hindu Bengalis) ate. Goats were the most popular offerings to Goddess Kali and Durga – and the meat then cooked in a recipe void of any garlic or onions and hence termed as “vegetarian meat”.
For folks who follow the Weight Watchers diet system of points, the following table illustrates some of the popular Indian food items found in restaurants. However, note that this is not what we eat at home on a daily basis. Now how do we calculate points for Maachher Jhol, Begun Bhaja, Mung-dal, Posto-bata?
|Wise Choices||POINTS Value|
|Raita, 1/2 cup||1|
|Chapati bread, 1 piece||2|
|Puri bread, 1 piece||2|
|Nan bread, 7 x 8-inch piece||4|
|Tandoori chicken without skin, 1 piece||4|
|Chicken tikka, 4 oz||5|
|Bean and lentil stew, 1 cup (dal maharani)||6|
|Not-So-Wise Choices||POINTS Value|
|Samosa (fried vegetable or meat patties)||3|
|Lamb korma (spicy curry), 1 cup||15|
|Chicken curry, 1 cup||10|
|Vegetable fritters, 1 cup||10|
|Lamb biryani, 1 cup||14|