by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Hundred-Foot Journey.

How are you enjoying the book so far? Were you able to read all four chapters last week?

In the first four chapters, we’re introduced to Hassan and his family, and we understand how they became owners of a restaurant in Mumbai. I thought the section that told about Hassan’s grandparents and how they got their start as a dabba wallahs, delivering lunch boxes throughout the city, was really interesting.

In fact, I did a little research about the dabba wallahs. They are still used in India, and they are a staple for those who work in office buildings. Dabba wallahs pick up lunch boxes from wives and then deliver the meals straight to office buildings, using a complex code on the top of the lunch boxes as a guide. The whole system is incredibly precise, with a 99.99% accuracy rate. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this article from NPR.

You can also read this article from The Guardian, which goes into more detail and gives some anecdotes from people who actually use the service.

In the book, were you heartbroken when Hassan’s mother passes away and the family leaves India? I thought it was so sad that his mother was a victim of the anger between the lower and upper classes. The family’s time in London wasn’t terribly exciting, was it? I imagine they were so overcome with grief they had a hard time doing anything.

What were your impressions of the family in this first section? They seem so close-knit and interested in one another. I liked that several generations all lived together in the same compound.

Have you tried any of the Indian dishes mentioned in the first couple of chapters? If you’re interested in creating your own The Hundred-Foot Journey feast at home, try some of the recipes mentioned on this food blog. Maybe it will help you envision the characters and setting better if you’re eating some delicious food as you read!

Tell me what you thought of the first section in the comments. And, let me know if you’re also watching the movie. I’ve heard it’s great—maybe you all will convince me to watch it.

Next week we’ll be discussing chapters five through twelve. Talk to you then!


4 Responses to “The Hundred-Foot Journey: Week 2”

  1. Jane Engle

    As a fan of “The Amazing Race” TV program, I was familiar with the dabba wallahs and their role in delivering lunch boxes in India. I enjoy learning about cultures that are different from my own and other ways of doing similar things. Reading this book reminds me of one of my late co-workers who was raised by his uncle in Bombay after his father died. He was educated in engineering and moved to the United States where he chose to become a citizen of our country. We enjoyed sharing meals and introducing each other to different foods. Surprisingly, what we had which he found to be the closest to something he would eat in India was pizza.

    Considering the enduring process of thinking due to the old Indian caste system,it was no surprise to me that the Haji family’s restaurant would be targeted. In order to maintain a place where they could live and work after the fire, like many immigrants who come to the United States do, the family decided to move to London. Their surroundings would have been very strange and extremely depressing to them. To suddenly be confronted with the British lifestyle in an Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi community would dash almost anyone’s hopes and dreams.

    Due to changes that take place in any family over time, eventually circumstances arose where things could not continue in the same way. Something had to be done. Facing the reality that they would have to move elsewhere in order to be happy, Hassan’s father returned with his own relatives to the European continent. They started traveling and sampling different foods. After a brief time, this too got old and ended when their car died in Lumiere.

    While I have seen and enjoyed the movie, I am looking forward to reading this book for more insight into the story and characters. Since you are already reading it, I would suggest you finish the book before seeing the film. It is my feeling that both a very enjoyable and worthwhile.

    • Erin K.

      Jane, it’s good to have you back again this month.

      Thanks for sharing your insight with your friend who spent time in Bombay. That is so interesting that he thought that pizza was similar enough to things that he had eaten in India. I really enjoy naan, and I have had a couple of other Indian dishes, but I am not so well-versed in Indian cuisine that I would have known that he would enjoy pizza.

      I’m glad you’re taking the time to read the book even though you have already watched the movie.

      Thanks for commenting, and I hope you continue to enjoy the book as you keep reading!

  2. Carrol

    You have encouraged me again to read a book I would not choose normally. So far, I am interested in these characters, and I am definitely curious to learn more about them.

    The death of Hassan’s mother was very sad. It was also very disappointing to read about their struggles when they moved to London.

    I appreciate the additional information about the Dabba wallahs. I didn’t know anything about them. How interesting to see the efficient way they work!

    I will not be trying any of the recipes. I have only had Indian food once, and I am definitely not a fan.

    I am anxious to find out what happens in the next section.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I’m glad that you are enjoying reading books that you wouldn’t normally read. I enjoy that aspect of the online book club as well. I can get in reading ruts where I just read the same authors or genres over and over, so it’s nice to read different things for this club.

      I have eaten a few Indian dishes that I have really enjoyed, but I can definitely say they were more spicy than what I usually eat! Is that what you found when you tried Indian food?

      I hope you enjoy the next section! Thanks for commenting along this week, and I hope to hear from you again next week!

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