MEALS AT BAALE MANE
To ensure that 44 girls are able toeat at the same time, you need a little bit of organisation! In this Oota story, we are taking you through the girls’ meal routine and our approach to food. Making sure that each girl gets three healthy, balanced meals and a snack each day is a key part of Baale Mane's food ethos - as you'll see below, alot of thought goes into it!
Cooking and Duties
The girls have a major role in the food routine at Baale Mane: helping the staff to cook: cutting vegetables, washing the vessels and overseeing the cooking. They take part in every meal that is made. The girls are on a kitchen rota which means, for example, that some might occasionally skip yoga in order to have the food ready for breakfast.
Ringing the Bell
Before every meal, the staff and the girls on rota are preparing the food in the kitchen. Once it is ready to be served, the staff tell the girls that they can ring the bell. This allows everybody to know it’s meal time and that they need to gather in the hall, wash their hands and get ready to eat.
One Step at a Time
At every meal time, the girls sit in the hall and wait for everybody to come before getting their plates. One by one, the girls go to get their plates, which are kept in the store and stacked according to their team. Once the plate is taken, they rinse it and sit back in their place.
Once everyone is sitting with a plate, they can start collecting the food. The team leaders are in charge of giving food to the girls as well as making sure that the meal happens in a quiet, calm atmosphere and that everybody eats well.
The Prayer & Thanks
Before eating girls sing a Sanskrit prayer together. This is their way to bless the food and be thankful for each meal.
Oohm Asathoma Sadyamaya
Oohm shanthi shanthi shanthihi
Translation in English:
From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace
At the end of the meal, the girls must wash their own plates and have to put them back in the right place. Then it is the team leaders time to eat.
For their diet, a plan is made and followed, detailing what they will eat at each meal. This is put together at the beginning of the year with the cook and the girls. This is very important as the girls get to choose their own menus, something which we think is extremely important. Though curries and sambhars may change, or girls may have occasional sweets to complete their meal, the plan is generally kept to.
At Baale Mane, food is seasonal and so the girls eat a variety of fruits and vegetables depending on what is available in the local markets. Food is grown in the Baale Mane garden, and Mary and the cook are creative - using as much of the trees and vegetables we grow as possible.
This Oota Story was composed by Morgane F, Baale Mane Volunteer