The Poder Chronicles by Nolan Mascarenhas

Nolan Mascarenhas
Nolan Mascarenhas

As we sat watching the sunset on the lively beaches of Utorda, Nolan Mascarenhas shows up from the kitchen of Jamming Goat with a smile covered behind his mask. His eyes are gleaming with excitement as he prepares for his event- The Poder Chronicles. 

Our team members have not had the chance to meet or chat with Nolan since the lockdown, but he has been busy with this project that took place during the time Goa was struck with a Covid19.

Before he got busy with guests, serving them some fusion cuisine along with Chef Saurabh, We decided to chat with him about this thought.

What is the reason you have decided to do this project? 

In my formative years, I chanced upon a quote- “Bread is the king of the table and all else merely the court that surrounds the king. The countries are the soup, the meat, the vegetables, and the salad, but bread is king. – Louis Bromfield” Growing up in Goa, this was synonymous with most households that asked for their daily bread and rice to oscillate for choice between meals.

As time passed on, cultural adaptations descended upon Goa and part of our culture slowly and steadily took a backseat. During the lockdown, the fabric of mere human existence was put to the test with many businesses shutting down and some finding it hard to revive as the economy slowly opened.

While the art of baking bread in our local bakeries was slowly dying, many of our ‘Poder’s (local name given to our Breadman. He is synonymous with the blue tarpaulin sheet on his basket as he cycles through villages blowing his horn to serve Goan bread, sweets and freshly baked biscuits) were struggling to make ends meet.

Newer formats of foreign bread and hipster chic trends engulfed many cafes that opened up altering the culinary tapestry of our fair state.

Poder Chronicles Main
The Poder Chronicles

While it was well-received, many of our classic favorites were thrown into obscurity only to be known generically as Poie by folks who visited our state.

Thus, a mission was undertaken one fine day when I traversed the length and breadth of many busy streets to find a multitude of Shawarma and Momo joints overtaking the ethos of what we were used to as street food- Our Cutlet Pao. Sure it adds a hue to a vast multi-cultural bonhomie, but what about showcasing the uniqueness of our state in our products to one and all? Thus came to rise (pun intended)-  The Poder Chronicles.

After careful identification and study, it’s a simple format of bringing to life our star products, a multitude, and a variety of bread locally sourced and produced. What does it do for us Goans? It keeps alive tradition, hopefully with backward integration keeps the economy buoyant and last but not least, makes our bread as cool as the Italian and French ones such as the Focaccia, Ciabata, and Crossaints in their own way. Let’s not forget the vast degree of health benefits minus preservatives.

What is the Poder Chronicles about? 

This project is a simulated effort to take Goan bread and marry them to multi-cuisine offerings with a hint of localization to allow flavors to merge and create something unique and fulfilling. An ode to the old and a way forward for the new.

What is the plan for this venture? 

Basically, a monthly Pop-Up is initiated on a rolling calendar with each establishment. It’s really simple. Anyone can participate and sign up. First, an establishment identifies their local bakeries and through an outreach program initiates economies for the consumption and sale of the Local Goan Bread. This helps them support out local Poder and bakeries.

The next step has us curating the menu as per the textures of the bread. Each one is a different stepsister from the next, so it’s exciting to see how they work out in a global format with hints of local cues.

Post which, the said partnered establishments become part of a larger Academy to pass on recipes and knowledge through the system between each other. Inspiration comes in various forms. New recipes, new menus, and more bread sold to promote our culture to locals and tourists alike this bringing more of Goa onto the National Food Map.

Is this your first tie-up? 

No. We started this off in Antares in the month of December. January ’21 has us here at Jamming Goat and February will have us in the hills of Saipem at Hilton.

What do you hope to achieve with this? 

Preserving a fledgling art form of our humble bread while circling back to our Poders and bakeries to ensure they find economic sustainability in this. Many bakeries are I’m bad shape, the funds from this project will go a long way to build up the basic infrastructure that’s required to keep this legacy going. There is also a larger picture in play, which I will reveal to you and Goa shortly. For now, come and eat some good bread in a fun format at these different establishments. Every month a new place will be revealed, God willing.

The movement has just begun. Honk for more.