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某些參加演講協會（Toastmasters International）的夥伴們，他們的演 講稿也要請我過目指正，助人為快樂之本，所以我也常常修改講稿⋯⋯以下是這週的例子，某一印度裔的女同事的演講稿：
Title: Cooking Indian Food
I have an uncle who is married to a … French…. Yes, a French lady. She has visited our home several times and usually comes with a few of her friends and relatives, all French natives. Most of my family and friends have never stepped out of a 200 mile radius from home, so we were in awe of our French visitors as if they were from a different planet.
Madam/Mr. Toastmasters of the Day, Fellow Toastmasters and Honored Guests. So, when we had them home, they were given a royal treatment. House was cleaned, rooms were readied for their stay, places to show them around were discussed and of course feasts would get ready. And the feasts... hmmmm…. all of us kids would also wait for them. My grandmother, my mom and all of my aunts would get into the kitchen for meal preparation. One would cut many varieties of vegetables, another would be running the grinder, a large heavy duty blender, and one would be deep frying vegetables and rice/lentil dumplings that were rolled with both palms into balls. Another would be making sweet puddings and exotic desserts. There would be frantic action to turn out the best dishes. One can hear the noises of a large spoon being stirred in the hot iron pan, the thud thud sound of the grinder whirring and the exhaust fan running in full speed. When the desserts where being made, the aroma of ghee would send us kids lining up outside the kitchen to at least get a lick of the yummy sweet that was prepared. My grandmother was the only one who would sneak a dessert or two our way along with a mock yell “Don’t come here again” to pacify the others in the kitchen.
The kitchen would be in sweltering heat and place of brisk action. And finally after about 4 hrs all our guests would be seated in the dining table. And one after the other about 10 to 15 dishes would get served. All my uncles would also join the table for the delicious foods… eyes, hands, mouths on the foods with less talk …. No time for talk
With great speed food would get swallowed and in about 15 to 20 minutes lunch would get finished and everyone would line up to wash their hands since in our custom food would be eaten with hands and not fork or spoon. So after 4 to 5 women preparing food for a good 2 to 3 hrs, the food would be eaten in a mere 20 minutes. This made my French aunt observe the contrast between the French and Indian style of eating food. Let me summarize what she said.
Indian cooking takes a very long time. It is like a Bollywood movie - takes three hours to complete. And if you are not a good cook, you will be disappointed at the end to have wasted your time, just like most of the Bollywood movies.
Indian cooking is like a ride on a slow moving bullock cart – it is tedious, it is time consuming and noisy with lots of sputtering and cacophony. But just like the cart ride, you enjoy the scenery, the beautiful aromas and the journey is a lot of fun.
In contrast to my family’s cooking methods, our eating habits are on the other end of the spectrum. If our cooks are tortoises, our diners are race car drivers. What took three hours to cook, takes us just a few minutes to consume. Before our visitors could settle in their seats, many of my family were done with dinner. Our eating speeds are legendary.
My French cousins, in contrast, put together a dinner which consisted of opening up a salad box that took five minutes to “cook”. And then it took them more than an hour to eat relaxed, chat and finish dinner.
Well, my fellow toastmasters, that in essence is what my family’s cooking and eating habits were. Has anything changed since this observation? Nah, old habits die hard… especially for my family tedious cooking process and fast-paced eating speed. Madam/Mr. Toastmasters of the Day.
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