A good review is one that is honest

My father would ensure there was a suckling pig on Christmas every year!

23.11.2015 Kunal Vijayakar

The point I’m trying to make is this: These sliders are the perfect football-friendly, rib-sticking snack for this Sunday. And because you’ll be making a bunch of them, you can have some fun and switch up the cheese you use.

No matter where we spend our childhood, Christmas for most us bring back memories of school vacations, midnight mass and plum cakes. Back in the day, it was no different for Mumbaikars. Bombay boys Kunal Vijayakar and food and wine writer, Antoine Lewis find celebrations have changed over the years. They share their memories with us Back in the day, it was no different for Mumbaikars...

“My father would ensure there was a suckling pig on Christmas every year!” says Kunal Vijayakar. The foodie and TV host grew up in Mazagaon Dock, which in the late 60s was a place inhabited by Christians, Parsis and Jews. The shippie culture was also evident as everyone had travelled abroad and therefore had a penchant for the fine things in life.

“Christmas naturally was a humongous affair and we were fortunate to have been part of the celebrations back then. Every year the entire tennis court would be transformed into a dance floor complete with a music band, stand-up comedian and attendees in white tuxedos swaying away till late in the night,” he reveals.

But, the real fun came during the holidays. It seems Dockyard Road in those days would be exactly how Bandra is today during the festivities. The strong Christian and Anglo-Indian communities meant midnight mass, carol-singing volunteers outside people’s houses and eating good food. It was the stuffed suckling pig at the Vijayakar household everybody looked forward to. “Every year, my father would take matters in his own hands by placing the order at either Cobana Café at Byculla or the Willingdon or Royal Bombay Yacht Club. Prawn patty, sausages and mince pies were some of the other goodies we’d eagerly wait to eat.”

But, Christmas was a localised affair and celebrations were limited in the 1940s. There were some rare pockets in South Bombay, which saw celebrations in full swing. It was marked by huge stars made of tissue paper and electric lights, which used to be hung across the road near Metro cinema; it was in some areas near the Portuguese Church and in Mazagaon Dock that one could experience the cheer in the air. One of our Parsi friends (who prefers to be anonymous) lets us in on a few British-run departmental stores such as Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co and Evans Fraser & Co on Hornby Road, Fort and Army and Navy Stores at Esplanade Road for donning beautiful Christmas decorations.

But, the real fun came during the holidays. It seems Dockyard Road in those days would be exactly how Bandra is today during the festivities. The strong Christian and Anglo-Indian communities meant midnight mass, carol-singing volunteers outside people’s houses and eating good food. It was the stuffed suckling pig at the Vijayakar household everybody looked forward to. “Every year, my father would take matters in his own hands by placing the order at either Cobana Café at Byculla or the Willingdon or Royal Bombay Yacht Club. Prawn patty, sausages and mince pies were some of the other goodies we’d eagerly wait to eat.”