Bakers Dozen: The Goan ‘Poder’
The familiar ponk! Ponk! Sound of the Poder's horn at dawn forms as much a part of Goa as does this tiny state's numerous and unique customs, feasts and festivals.
In Konkani there is no difference drawn between the bread delivery man and the baker. They are both referred to as Poder.
The undo or pao came to be such an essential part of a Goan breafast that there came a time, towards the end of the Portuguese rule, when every village had its own local bakery.
The village baker was always respected and referred to with affection in Local circles.
As Mr. Valentino Vaz, the owner of Pedro Vincent Vaz & Sons Points out, "Bakeries were one hundred percent success oriented business. There are no sick units in the baking business."
The fine art of baking bread was brought to Goa by the European Missionaries. Goan bakers adapted it and added local ingredients to their bread giving it a very distinct Goan flavour. They used toddy instead of yeast for leavening.
It is difficult to imagine a Goa without a Poder at the doorstep at the break of dawn.
But in recent times, mass production bread manufactures and pastry shops have raised alarm bells among Goa's traditional bakers. However, we do hope that they will continue to thrive side by side.
Some Types of Goan Bread – Undo