7D Food Exploration – The Return Gift

The Return Gift

It all started with the thought of doing something with the Onam Sadya contributions. And we decided to have lunch with a bunch of kids from Jumbish. The idea behind this was simple ~ everyone deserves a good meal. 


We went to the Dome pizzeria where we didn’t only experience the process of making and eating the pizzas, but also experienced the pleasure of gifting! 


These were children most of whom have never eaten in a proper restaurant. It was a great experience to see the joy of having pizzas and pasta on their innocent faces. It was more receiving than giving this kind of gift. 


We did simple stuff together- played some games, chatted with them and had food. We had a wonderful time together. The children got mingled with us easily. 


The children told us about their families and some other things about them. They said that they enjoyed the treat and our company. Some of them said, “We have seen the pizzas on TV only, and this is the first time we are having it!” 


We had a plan to give a gift to the children, but by doing this, we actually received a gift of joy and togetherness in return! 


If the smile count is any indication we all had a jolly good time. In a very short time we felt so close to one another and while parting many of us had already started thinking about ways of meeting again.   

Community Service Group

Woah! The most pleasant season is round the corner. The chilly mornings are going to give a different sense altogether. The season delivers delectable meals, endless gratitude, and when the first winter breeze blows through the trees you can feel the magic in the air. Nevertheless, it also brings some illness if not taken care of properly. The question often occurs to me, can going from cold winter nights to bright sunny days cause harm to humans only? What about trees in such a freezing climate? From dusk to dawn, trees stand idle under the sky. Their lives are also affected as they are living creatures. In order to better serve the community, what else can be the best course of action?

Here are some glimpses of the life class’s community service project, which involved Tree Trunk Painting and adding fertilizer to the soil to replenish nutrients. Tree trunk painting is an old-time method which was adapted by us to seal trunks and protect them. Several tree trunks were painted white and red to help shield saplings and very young trees from a variety of damage like cracking, splitting of the tender new bark, which can allow introduction of disease, insects, and fungus. Furthermore, we also added fertilizer in the soil to promote healthy plant growth. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to my co-facilitator and all of the participants since this event would not have been a success without them. Many hands, different actions and one motto:

Onam Sadya : A 7D Food exploration group initiative

This was the first time I attended the 7D food explorers life class–and I would say it was one of the life classes which had the most LIFE in it. The way we connected with each other, the tears, the laughs, the stories, the emotions…all raw..unfiltered…deep, active, uninterrupted listening…actually putting into practice all that we have learnt in all the years of life classes at FS.

I never imagined that people could bond so strongly over food–everything food. For me, bonding over food was limited to eating together—but I realised that researching, talking, cooking and serving was an experience which made us bond more strongly than any other aspect of life. 

The immersion activities for the ‘D’ day–or shall I say ‘O’ day;) were very well thought of, it actually helped us connect with our emotions in a deep and meaningful manner and we were able to give our best during the prep and service on ‘O’ day. (Get the pun ‘O’ is for Orgasmic pleasure–and Onam Sadya–the food and the experience gave Orgasmic pleasure to many–especially to me 😉 

Imagine 10-12 novice cooks in the kitchen trying out new recipes for the first time- just by following Youtube videos–with no idea of the actual taste, consistency , texture or aroma–yet no shouting, no grunting, no exasperated sighs–just preparing the food with plain, pure love, smiles, hugs and embraces. It made the food what it was –‘LOVE on a Platter’–or Love on a KELA PATTA—‘Kele pe pyaar’ sounds slutty and erotic–hence we go with Love on a Kela Patta 😉

I was pleasantly surprised at how things fell into place on the day of ‘Onam Sadya’, there were many things out of place, not going according to plan, yet everything was in perfect unison–flowing like it was meant to, without hesitation, driven by love, it was love in action. I was humbled by the praises, people can be so generous with their words and actions–it made me embrace the fact–that the world revolves around love—love makes things happen–our Love for Food–made all the magic happen.

Click here to view some moments from the celebration


My food exploration journey so far…

Food may be essential as fuel for the body but Good Food is fuel for the soul……

By Malcom Forbes


-Food as Nirvana

This Life Class is Nirvana for me where I experienced a state of perfect peace, harmony, the joy of togetherness, and happiness in the world of food along with passionate food explorers. 


-Food and Experiences

I have never seen or heard about the food in 7 dimensions and I experienced it in this life class through immersion of all the senses and realizing its close connection with so many aspects of life


-Food and Memories

On the first day itself, I connected myself with it. It was a quiz where we were shown some pictures and asked to identify the desi vegetables/fruits.  I was really surprised during that activity that I knew those fruits and veggies and could vividly share fond memories of them from my childhood.



– Food and Cooking!

I can cook enough to survive but inspired by the monsoon mood when we decided to cook momos I undertook the challenge of making Thukpa (my first ever) and I surprised myself when everyone relished it bowl after bowl and asked for the recipe!

– Food and Culture

The ONAM SADYA experience was one of its kind where I cherished the cooking of an elaborate 18-course menu and relished it traditionally on a kela Patta wearing a beautiful golden border saree and gajra along with some very beautiful souls. What an amazing way to experience and immerse in a culture and celebrate togetherness!



-Food and Heritage

When roaming the streets of Rander I realized the rich heritage of Surat which I have never ever seen or heard of. Not only I felt privileged to visit these charming heritage sites and hear their stories but it also doubled my appetite and joy of eating a delicious bowl of Randeri Khawsa 



-Food and Travel

Food as a traveler???? Ya each food has a story about its origin- history and its evolution. How it traveled around the world and how it got modified and adapted and how finally it comes to our plate. Amazingly interesting and shocking as well! Pizza is one such example that we explored.


-Food and Togetherness

When we all work together I never find any errors, blunders, or any mess even when we face challenges or limitations. Only a deep sense of connection with each other and a sense of effortlessness. Be it the Onam Sadya where we had a gigantic task of cooking an 18-course menu for more than 50 people with barely any exposure to Kerala food or when we had to flip the pizza in the air at Dome!


-Food and giving-receiving Joy

I experienced the joy of giving or I must say the joy of receiving during Onam Sadya and lunch at Dome with Jumbish kids. I felt so satisfied when I saw a smile on their faces. It wasn’t giving but receiving deep satisfaction that swelled up my heart.


Last but not least Food and Gratitude:-

Thank you so much @fontainheadschool to give such a wonderful life class

I am forever grateful to this opportunity suggested by you @shalininandkumar

and Shahnaz ma’am for unforgettable moments, and for the best experiences, we had together.


Chocolate – before and after!

The first ever reaction that comes to anyone on listening to chocolate is pleasure and comfort. It makes the world go round. It is the ultimate happiness that anyone can savour. We would all agree that everything is good if it is made of chocolate. Most of us would relate chocolate as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger. 


We were all super-excited when we learnt that we were going to learn about chocolate. And this is the first thing that we got to read.



Imagine our disbelief when we learnt that our delicious chocolate has been termed as something that is suited for the consumption of pigs! And then we learnt that what we read was one of the first detailed accounts of the original chocolate that comes from the History of the New World (1564) by the Milanese Girolamo Benzoni, who travelled in Central America. 


So the story goes like this. In the early days, before the 16th century, chocolate wasn’t this creamy, rich, sweet, sensuous, soft, decadent and super addictive food that we know of. It was extremely bitter, gruelly, coarse, crumbly and too heavy to eat. More than a treat, it was a treatment, used as a medicine or fed to soldiers as an instant energizer to prepare them for war. 


It is only through the human desire to improvise, innovate and derive pleasure that we got the chocolate that we know. It is a great example of human ingenuity in action.


So if you were born before the 16th century, your experience with chocolate would have been very different. So different that if you time travelled and reached this day in Switzerland and tasted chocolate, chances are you wouldn’t be able to make any association of one with the other.


And this is the short video about the history and evolution of chocolate that we watched,



Chocolate has been known and loved for many centuries, not only as food but also as medicine. The process of how chocolate is created right from the cocoa beans that grow inside the pods of the cacao trees that are native to central South America to the bars that we relish was worth learning. 


So the next time you find yourself craving some chocolate, don’t dismiss it as simply craving for a sweet treat. It could be an important signal that your heart is in need of love. Give in to the desire and buy yourself a big bar.  


MOMO Mania!

“There is nothing in this world that a plate of momos can’t fix.”


As a part of 7D food exploration workshop, we got an opportunity to activate and use all our senses to prepare a  delicious dish of Nepal, Momos. The inspiration came from our facilitator, Shahnaz ma’am, who came across a mother-daughter duo running a small-scale business delivering scrumptious momos to the localities of Delhi.

On the first day of our workshop, we got a chance to virtually meet with Nicole Juneja. She shared momo stories which were also her inspiration to start Momo Mood. She answered our questions about momo making and it was amusing to know that even she finds folding momos challenging!

After the guest speaker session, we were given time to research and come up with our own momo recipe. After a lot of brainstorming, the team decided to cook Tandoori momos, Paneer momos, Veg. momos, Fried momos, a variety of momo chutneys and also Thukpa soup.

Momos require delicate folding and shaping and since none of us had made it before we were initially skeptical about making so many momos for such a large group of people in such a short period of time (This was supposed to be lunch for 18 hungry tummies!). Once we got to it, surprisingly, things started to fall in place quite effortlessly- people started to take charge of their stations and soon there was so much action, energy and camaraderie that it made us realize that food truly is our common ground, a universal experience as said by James Beard.

We had less than 2 hours in hand to make delicious momos. All the momo enthusiasts started working looking out for the right ingredients, right spices, and bringing the right amount of flavors in their momo stuffing. Everybody showed their creativity in making momos of different shapes and sizes.

It was a lot of fun and enjoyment cooking and eating together. Together we were able to make the world’s best momos, chutney and thukpa (haha, atleast to us they were and will remain the most memorable ones ;)) !!! Just one of the merits of involving all 7 senses!


Emotions of,

Heta, Tabassum and all 7D explorers.

Mehman Nawazi Of Rander


Mehman Nawazi


Today we decided to explore the long-lost gem- Rander. I have been in Surat for the past 20 years, but this part of Surat was unknown and untouched by me despite its proximity to our school. We explored and visited the various beautiful heritage sites and charming architecture of Rander. The history of Surat and the stories associated with it brought history alive. It felt like we went back in time. The Jain and the Muslim community living together with many temples and mosques next to each other showed us how the people here lived peacefully and happily together despite what is otherwise believed to be the case. 

The people here were so generous and welcoming, including ‘Abbas bhai’ who from his busy schedule gave us almost 4 hours to help us explore the place. He was polite, soft spoken, smiling and sharing with us all the knowledge about the place. Taking extra efforts to get permissions for places which were otherwise out of reach for us. 

After all the walking, we were not just ready but really hungry for the aloo puri and khawsa that we were here for. So the next stop for us was ‘Nakhuda Nasta center’. The place was brimming with aroma and enticed our tastes buds and we were welcomed here with a warm smile. We were first shown the process of how they make these iconic dishes. He took us to the kitchen, showed the making and answered all the questions. Someone revealing their business secret is something I saw for the first time. 

And finally we ordered everything they had on the menu- Aane do!- alu puri, cheese aloo puri, egg aloo puri, chicken aloo puri, rainbow aloo puri, veg khawsa, chicken khawsa, egg khawsa! After eating to our hearts content we wanted to drink something. He was really kind to get us drinks from another shop. This seemed like a local fav- RimZim which was really refreshing and reminded us of our childhood days. Next on our list was hand churned ice cream! And not just one flavor, Abbasbhai got us 12 different flavors! When the plates arrived on our tables we were all love struck- the colors and creaminess..After eating so much we were pretty sure we won’t be able to finish it but when we looked around after 10 mins all the plates were licked clean! 

“Atithi Devo Bhava “

Something I have only heard since I was a child, I experienced today. 

This Mehman Nawazi of Rander blew our minds and made the humble experience of eating aloo puri and khawsa into an unforgettable memory. In Rander you get not just good food but also truly authentic human beings!
This is the end of the story


Payal Jain

7D food exploration -Life Chutney taught me a lesson which I won’t forget for my life.

When we all entered the kitchen and saw ingredients that we could hardly associate with chutney and we all were a little skeptical about it. We were wondering what to do with all these weird ingredients. That is when we are told this is going to be our life chutney. We can pick up as many ingredients as we wish and in the quantity, we want to prepare our life chutney. 

The flavors were synonymous with the experiences in my life I started to see the flashback of my journey while picking every ingredient- sweet, sour, bitter, tangy, spicy, salty- each ingredient I picked reminded me of a phase in my life. Also, the way my life has different colors I made sure to add different colors to my chutney- beautiful purple from Kokam and delicate white from Coconut. The pounding of chutney reminded me of the difficult days of my life. But like the pounding of chutney released the flavors, infused them together, and turned separate ingredients into this chutney, the grinding that I got from life was also something that brought me closer to who I am now- someone who is made stronger with time and can face any challenge with a smile.

Overall a lesson learned is that life pounds you and it has all different flavors. You have to take it as essential for the outcome expected. 


A few other thoughts on life chutney from my food explorer friends:

Mariyam – I will remember the making of life chutney and sharing of the experiences by my fellow foodies. I gave myself the luxury of enjoying the process of grounding and relishing the chutney which life makes out of me!!

Subhalaxmi – Everyone’s definition of ‘chutney’ is different, just like everyone’s perception of how life ought to be lived.

Payal – During this, I realized my true nature. I  wanted to add all the flavors. I also wished that my life chutney should be the best and liked by everyone. This is a feeling that I could also relate to my real life where I always try my best in whatever I do. I want to be liked by all and I try to add all the flavors of my attitude to things that I do in my real life.



Me and my ramblings – an inward journey (7D food exploration)

What is a person who is not a cook by choice doing in a food workshop? Well, learning to like the 7-dimensional experience associated with food, that’s what!

What enticed me to the workshop possibility was the wonderful collage of videos and associated big ideas that came my way as this year’s life class possibility. I filled it up just because it was something different. Something that seemed hands-on. And the workshop has not disappointed. If anything it has helped me learn a lot about myself as a person.

Here are four things I have understood about myself through the 6 days journey:
1. I have a cooking preference – being an introvert by nature, I like my kitchen space to myself. I don’t like people hovering and I am a stickler for authenticity in names (“Dhosa” vs “Thosai” #IYKYK)


2. I need to learn to let go of my perceptions – when I sat down to relish the Onam Sadya meal myself I was surprised at how authentic it tasted despite being cooked by people who knew little to nothing about the dish. I learnt that letting people enjoy a challenge is not bad after all! I assumed that people with varied backgrounds will find it difficult to learn how to cook a typical dish – but the Onam Sadhi dismantled that perception, and how!

3. It is not bad to watch a youtube video and learn how to cook a dish – when I did that with the momo-making exercise, I was pleasantly surprised that I could do something that I had been making fun of for so long. I now watch these Instagram reels on making food (watch, not make, so don’t consider yourself invited!)


4. In giving we receive – the visit to Dome Pizzeria was one of the most beautiful learning experiences about being a kind/non-judgemental teacher (Thanks, Shrey). It also underscored for me the assumption that children who are ‘underprivileged’ need us to ‘help’ them. What we did there was not charity. It was something we did to make ourselves feel good (compounded by the fact that the Pizza and Iced-tea we served them is not the kind they enjoy).

Thankful for the experience! But if at the end of it, you ask me ‘why the name 7D?’ I’ll say, just because Shahnaz is extremely creative!

Art and Skills – Reflection

I enjoyed the first and second day of art and skills class. I learned canvas painting along with making connection with our own emotions. I was able to create my own composition after listening to the interesting story/facts about ‘Phad painting of Rajasthan. I hope to complete my pending paintings and able to showcase on the last day of this class.

I am looking forward for the up coming classes where I will learn more and enhance my art skill.


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