Playing with food, the Tendulkar way

It's nice to spend some time the other evening listening to Sachin Tendulkar talk about his interest in food. The man has, after all, travelled more than anyone else in the game, player or journalist, over the last 23 years.

updated: November 05, 2012 13:46 IST
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Each time I come back home from a work tour abroad - usually following the Indian cricket team - talk at home with the wife invariably revolves around the new animals I have found to eat. Beijing, my one big non-cricket tour, was by far the most productive, carnivorously speaking, but every place I've been to has thrown up interesting options. Most of the time, I have found my way around alone after friends and colleagues took their leave with stricken expressions and a "you go, boss, we'll hit the Indian restaurant".

I don't mean to judge anyone. Not at all. I steer clear of Indian restaurants abroad because food, to me, is an integral part of experiencing a different culture, place and people. But I understand that others may want to pack parathas in their suitcases or make a beeline for the nearest Taj restaurant (there's one in almost every city in the world - seriously). People travel for different reasons, after all. I particularly feel for my vegetarian colleagues, who have it cruelly bad sometimes - like the chap who survived on rotis and curd and chocolates for 45 days in Pakistan.

That's that for the media contingent. I have often wondered how the cricket contingent is handling its gustatory situation. Five-star hotels will usually rustle up what the players want. Despite that, I have known vegetarian Indian cricketers to struggle, and the blandness of the preparations drive even non-vegetarians to the nearest KFC or McDonald's outlet. Encounters with 'cheeseburgers', of course, are legend.

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