Bohra traditions: Salt

Bohra traditions
Bohra traditions,
originally uploaded by imfaraz.
I took a series of photographs for a Bohri cookbook. This particular photo was taken with the intention of putting it on the book's cover.

The food is served in a big metal plate called a thaal, and this little thing is for holding salt. According to Bohra tradition, a meal starts with a pinch of salt, hence the idea of using this photograph for the cover.

6 comments:

Quizman said...

Very interesting. It may surprise you to know that a similar tradition exists in parts of India. For example, in my community in South India, salt is the first ingredient that is served on the plate/leaf during festive occassions or formal ceremonies. Some other Indian communities begin with sugar.

I've been trying to figure out why this is the case!

Abbas Halai said...

quizman, that's a pretty easy answer. bohra traditions are 90% from india and hindu culture. most of the things they do on a daily basis are from hindu traditions. salt has been proven to start the digestive enzymes in your mouth flowing and help you enjoy your meal a whole lot more. similarly bohra's will also end a meal with a pinch of salt and that plays a double role of helping you digest your food. any other questions, just let me know.

Quizman said...

Thanks, Abbas.

It is quite interesting that formal ceremonies in most cultures, have 'rules' for serving food. It is also rather distressing that during an age where every meal seems to be a buffet, such traditions are on the wane.

Thanks Faraz, for documenting these traditions. A picture, as the cliche' goes, is worth a thousand words.

Abbas Halai said...

too bad you can't photo document the rules and etiquette of eating in a thaal.

Anonymous said...

Taking of salt at the beginign of ameal is sunnat of prophet Mohammed SA

Hasina said...

Hi
Please can you send me the name of the Bohri Cookbook you took this photo for? I have been trying to find one for the longest time.
Thanks