You’re not new, but you’re new to me. Ever since I ate you for dinner with a sludge-brown Chicken Tikka Masala, I’ve had Dido’s dismal-yet-catchy “White Flag” in my head. Takeaway Restaurant Peshwari Naan, you are the ship—or at least the carb-loaded raft—with whom I will go down.
You taste like every great eating experience in my life, like chips-for-lunch-Fridays in primary school. Reheated for two minutes at 200° once the delivery guy has left, you, Takeaway Restaurant Peshwari Naan, approximate some of that personal cheese’s crust-bound tastiness. Or like summer days before my first year of high school, those fasting days, hungering in anticipation of one incredible Gregg’s Bakery sausage roll straight from the oven, with a fudge doughnut for afters. Oh Takeaway Restaurant Peshwari Naan, I bet it’s your dextrose paste and sugar that mimic that doughnut’s sweetness.
I love you because you know I’m inexperienced, a naan novice. The first time I even ate Indian food was at a huge all-you-can-eat lunch buffet inside a three-floor restaurant behind Prince’s Street. A friend and I rode a elevator up to the top, and the silver door slid open and revealed a service station festooned with orange pompons and gold coruscating Christmas lights. It was summer 2003 and the air was rich with exotic smells.
Beside the masalas and the tikkas, the paneers and the kormas, plain and garlic naan (Naans? Naas?) wilted in their chafing dishes. Chewy, blistered, lipilicious—I ate a triangle of each and licked my ghee-slicked fingers as I watched endless lines of Lothian buses shuffle outside, carrying poor, naan-less passengers to places that couldn’t match my gustatory delight.
13 years ago being 13 years ago, I can’t compare you, Takeaway Restaurant Peshwari Naan, to those first naans of my past, your flatbread folk, your bready brethren. I can only compare you to yourself. Each of the folded rounds in the cardboard-bolster-plastic package in which you come is differently spotted with raisins, like a litter of Dalmatians. Coriander confettis your paleness with quiet, subtle, nay, sophisticated dark green apostrophes. You are round, ovular, elongate, and I would eat you for every meal (with eggs and sausages, with peanut butter and banana, with maple syrup and bacon etc.) of every day. Every damn day because “I’m in love, and always will be.”