True Story: The Engine Of Life

A true moment from Singapore.

My guide and I just sat down, ready to share an oily, hot roti prata with a side of curry. I can’t say I was starving but the idea of tearing the bread and dipping into the hot brothy liquid excited me beyond belief.

Suddenly a well-dressed man approached our table and began to announce his arrival as if we had been waiting for him for hours. He was animated and spritely, with clear eyes, supple skin and thick pomaded shocks of wavy black hair. Not a strand of gray anywhere.

“My friends! I am Indian, look at my body! Seventy years old I am. These are my real teeth, my own hair, and I owe it all to whole grains, not the oily fat-laden meal you are about to eat. I blame the prata for generations of disease among my people!” he proclaimed with a friendly smile that sat on top of true concern but absolutely no judgement.

“Enjoy your visit and the prata but remember this: you are throwing sand into the engine of life.”

We smiled back, thanked him, and proceeded to weigh our engines down with enough sand, grease, and oil to stall a motorcade.


  1. says

    People are always ready to dispense their advice. Now maybe he had a point, but I don’t think you should go up to someone and share their personal thoughts on dining!

  2. Matt says

    I completely agree! It was so humorous that I didn’t mind it and I also happen to love whole grains. What can ya do….. 😉

  3. says

    Doesn’t sound intimidating, it was actually hilarious. If this happens to me, i would my burst into laughter the moment the guy turned around=)

  4. says

    That sounds similar to the people who eat 10% fewer calories than the daily recommended level and supposedly live several years longer as a result. My thought about that has always been, “Why live longer if you’re not having any fun?”

  5. says

    The well-dressed Indian was most definitely on to something, but definitely a bit presumptuous to think it was OK to bother you while dining. At least he was polite and courteous — this is probably what made it more of an entertaining experience and one worth writing about.

  6. Vivilicious says

    That’s one of the great things about living in Singapore, I get to have fab grease bombs like pratas, curry puffs, etc. balanced with my “regular” food, i.e. lots of home cooked, whole grained foods. Call me greedy, I love them all 😉 !

  7. says

    Too funny. In response “I knew a man who gave up smoking, drinking, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself” Johnny Carson

  8. Bugis says

    A lot of people eat roti prata after drinking. I think the binge eating after booze is probably more of a problem than the prata itself.

  9. says

    Hi there Matt,
    I am glad for you to try out the ‘Parathas/Rotis’ and am glad you enjoyed eating them.
    We make them everyday here and eat it with anything, sweet, sour, bitter, hot, chili or curries/gravies and even stuff ‘muttur pilao[peas pilao]’ in a roll and eat it with pickles.
    The difference with Rotis and Parathas is that Roti can be fried or roasted on a griddle/skillet without oil, but Parathas need oil/fat/ghee when roasting or frying, actually depending on which part of the world you are in, tastes even vary and ingredients vary too…
    I love your blog and love to watch and see your photos. Keep it up Chef.
    Just wanted to let you know that it’s Paratha[singular] or Parathas[plural]…
    Hugs and sorry and apologies for correcting you…

  10. Philip says

    I was amused by this when I read it a few weeks ago, but I didn’t realize that wheat flour is a Western introduction to India. Last month, Ceylon began outlawing the use of wheat and began shutting down bakeries.

    And we worry about Happy Meals!


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