Lunch in a Box – The Indian Tiffin.

Old Guv Legends

tiffinwallahs-of-bombay-011Lunch in a box. Photograph: Chris Caldicott

The word tiffin is also used as a name for a lunchbox. Tiffins (or dhabbas) come in all shapes and sizes, but traditionally they are round, with three or four stacking stainless steel compartments firmly sealed with a tight-fitting lid and a side clip to avoid any nasty spillages and a handle for carrying on top.

In India food cooked at home with care and love is considered to deliver not only healthy (and relatively cheap) food but also divine contentment. Lunch is usually eaten thali-style, with a tantalising selection of regional delicacies that may include any combination of spicy vegetables, dhal, rice, yoghurt, pickles, bread and pudding served on a big steel plate or a banana leaf. The separate compartments in the tiffin lunchbox accommodate thali lunches perfectly.

Tiffin culture is now to be found all over India. Everyone – from women…

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