At the launch of Boria Majumdar’s Cooking on the Run published by HarperCollins, Sachin Tendulkar gave an insight into the food habits he has cultivated travelling around the world for 25 years. He said he learnt cooking (one or two recipes from his mother like prawn masala), cooked for his wife Anjali and daughter Sara (she likes varan bhat) and son Arjun (home cooked food), on occasions to his teammates, eaten street food and confirmed he is an out and out foodie.

He said he likes developed tastes for Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Ethiopian and even tried snails and said that cooking is relaxing calming.

How did it all start? “Till the age of 13 or so I used to eat mainly Maharashtrian food. Then of course, I started travelling a bit. I went to England for the first time with Kailash Gattani’s team, the Young Stars Cricket Club. We spent a month there in dormitories and with families. That was the first time I realised that a cold chicken could be eaten. I was not used to that, but as the time went by, I learnt to deal with all these things and developed a taste for them. I think cricket was so important and we were all so excited that we used to literally forget about the food. Thankfully, those were the days we could afford to eat burgers and all, not any more.

“With travelling and more exposure, I was open to trying out more things. In the last 25 years or so that I have travelled, I have tried Japanese to Ethiopian to Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and all types of food. I enjoy it. I’m a big foodie and I enjoy good food and sometimes it’s good to eat whatever you like and not think of the diet. The first time in Pakistan was a memorable experience. I used to just have a couple of keema parathas and lassi for breakfast, skip lunch and have nothing till dinner as it used to be so heavy and delicious and one wouldn’t think of having lunch in the afternoon. But on that tour I was 16 and was growing up. It was a phenomenal experience and when I came back from Pakistan to Mumbai and stood on the weighing scale I couldn’t believe myself. Whenever we have toured Pakistan, the food has been simply delicious and one has to be careful about not putting on weight. When you are 16 though, you can afford to, but not any longer.’’

Tendulkar said he began eating sushi in Australia. “I like Japanese food. Earlier it was only sushi. Over the last few years I have tried different things. Raw fish is not as bad as it sounds. The first time I had Japanese food, it may have been 10 or 12 years ago. But it was not on a regular basis, but in the last few years I’ve been eating it on a more regular basis. I remember in Australia I was eating five Japanese meals in a row.

The little champion talked about cooking and eating in the middle of a jungle in Zimbabwe in 2001 and also what the team did after the game against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup in Centurion. “It was a beautiful barbecue in Zimbabwe. It was such a big day and a big game in South Africa. We decided whatever happens we should spend the evening together and celebrate together. We enjoyed ourselves. It was a big night and it was one of the most important matches of our lives and people who had met me almost a year before that game had told me that come what may you have to win this game. Every little thing we did that night we still remember and cherish it as it doesn’t happen every now and then. Yes. I had a big bowl of ice-cream (during the break) and nothing else.’’

What about dessert? “I like them, but don’t eat when I want to lose weight. Sweets from different parts of India have their own specialities. I also like Western stuff like cheese cakes and stuff.’’

When asked if a thought has ever crossed his mind as to why people are vegetarian and if he has gone on a vegetarian diet for an extended period of time, he said: “There have been patches when I’ve tried to be vegetarian, but it is difficult. I’ve been brought up eating non-veg food. It’s not that I have to eat non-veg every meal, but I have got to get used to it. I don’t mind good quality vegetarian food that’s healthy. Varan bhat prepared by mom after a long tour with a bit of ghee and lemon is the best Maharashtrian food I like.’’

Finally he said he doesn’t believe in being superstitious and that he watches MasterChef Australia with his son.

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