Short Stories For Everyone
Inspiring incidents from Gandhiji's Life: Selected from the book Everyone's Gandhi
(For the children in the age group of 10 to 15 years)

Gandhiji writing


Gandhi's inspiring short stories selected from the book Everyone's Gandhi

Editor by : Rita Roy

Table of Contents

  1. All for A Stone
  2. A Car And A Pair of Binoculars
  3. My Master's Master
  4. Enter The Monkeys
  5. Premchand Quits His Job
  6. Returning His Medals
  7. Basic Pen
  8. Prisoner No. 1739
  9. Gandhi's White Brother
  10. Who Saw Gandhi?
  11. An Early School
  12. An Unusual March
  13. Spiritual Heir
  14. The Less You Have The More You Are
  15. An Old Goat Talks
  16. The Phoenix Settlement
  17. Gandhi in Amsterdam
  18. Something To Be Shy About?
  19. Gandhiji The Matchmaker
  20. Gandhi's Army
  21. Dandi Snippet
  22. Hiding Something
  23. The Image Maker
  24. Creative Reader
  25. Postcards To The Rescue
  26. A Non-violent Satyagraha 214 Years Ago
  27. Gandhi And Delhi
  28. Gandhiji's Constructive Programme
  29. Gandhi Looks At Leprosy
  30. Baba Amte
  31. They Gave Peace A Chance
  32. From Mahatma To God
  33. Customs Are Out of Fashion
  34. The Man 'Charlie' Wanted To Meet
  35. It Came Naturally To Him
  36. Crossing The Sea of Narrow-Mindedness
  37. Wear Clothes As They Should Be Worn
  38. Education: For Life, Through Life
  39. The Abode of Joy
  40. To Cling to A Belief
  41. The Fruit of A Child's Labour
  42. An Ideal Prisoner
  43. How A Film Became Something More
  44. Gandhi: Beyond India
  45. Gandhi's Life-Saving Medicine
  46. Understanding The Mechanics of Life With Gandhi
  47. The Lokmanya and The Mahatma
  48. Man's Gift To Nature
  49. Gurudev And His Mahatma
  50. One-man Boundary Force
  51. What Does Mahatma Gandhi's Message Mean To Me?
  52. Let's Play Together
  53. Children's Response To Conflict
  54. Beggar By Choice
  55. The Better Half
  56. Uncle Gandhi
  57. The Watch: An Instrument For Regulating Life
  58. Light The Lamp of Your Mind
  59. Gandhi's Bet!
  60. Gandhi Feeling At Home In The Kitchen
  61. What Is Simplicity?
  62. Bapu And The Sardar
  63. The Power of Quality
  64. Gandhi: The Teenager!

Chapter 60: Gandhi Feeling At Home In The Kitchen

Gandhi simplified the highly complicated and difficult art of cooking. He first tried his hand at cooking at the age of eighteen, when he was in England. He was a strict vegetarian. Vegetarianism was then comparatively a new trend in England. He was generally served with bread, butter and jam and boiled vegetables. Everything tasted bland to Gandhi who was used to tasty spicy Indian dishes prepared by his mother. After taking meals in a vegetarian restaurant for some months, he decided to live thriftily. He hired a room, and a stove and cooked his breakfast and dinner himself. He took scarcely more than 20 minutes to cook the food about 12 annas a day.
After his return to India as an enrolled barrister, he hired a small flat in Bombay and engaged a Brahmin cook. He did half the cooking and taught the cook some English vegetarian dishes. He was rather particular about orderliness and cleanliness especially in the kitchen, and taught the cook to wash his clothes and to bathe regularly.
A book called Return to Nature by Salt convinced Gandhi that one should not eat to please the palate but to keep the body fit. Mahadev Bhai once asked Gandhi, "Bapuji, did you have a cook before you joined the Phoenix Settlement?" Gandhi replied: " No, I got rid of him earlier. We had a fine cook but he said that he won't be able to cook without spices and condiments. Immediately, I granted him leave and did not appoint a cook anymore." This incident took place when Gandhi was nearly thirty five years old.
Hired cooks were never employed in his ashrams in South Africa or India. Gandhi believed that it was sheer waste of time and labour to cook various dishes for one meal. He was not prepared to cater to the differing tastes of the different members of the ashram. He prescribed a simple menu for all. The meals were cooked in a common kitchen. In his ashram, rice with gruel, bread, raw salad, boiled vegetables without spices, fruits and milk or curd were served. Sweets and milk preparations were substituted by fresh gur and honey. Gandhi began to make experiments, with diet which remained a lifetime hobby with him. Some of the experiments needed no cooking and some landed him in trouble. He was a fruitarian for five years. Once for four months he lived on germinated seeds and uncooked food and developed dysentery.
Some old examples of Gandhi's menu were fresh neem leaf chutney, bitter as quinine, mixture of fresh nutritive oil-cake from an oil-pres adjoining the ashram and curd, sweet sherbat (juice) made of tamarind and gur, boiled and mashed soyabeans served without any seasoning, salad made out of any fresh edible green leaves, a sort of pudding made from finely powdered baked chapattis, porridge of coarsely ground wheat and whennatan coffee made from baked wheat powder. He could prepare cake rice, dal, vegetable soup, salads, marmalade both of oranges and orange skins, bread without using yeast or baking powder, chapattis and fine Khakras. He introduced loaf-making and biscuit-making in the ashram kitchen. A special type of oven was used in Sevagram for cooking rice for hundreds of persons, for making bread and boiling vegetables at a low cost. One of Bapu's associate once remarked: "Lately it was reported that grass had plenty of vitamins. Fortunately the discovery was not made when Gandhiji was in the ashram, for then he would have decided to wind up the kitchen and ask us graze on the lawn."
Gandhi once visited a model residential school. He did not like the kitchen arrangements there and told the teachers: "You will make your institution ideal if, besides giving them a literary education, you make finished cooks and sweepers of them."