Meanwhile, the Hajis are starting their new adventure. The huge house is a ton of fun to explore and Papa is renovating it in true Bombay style.
Hassan first runs into Madame Mallory, who is calmly pulling weeds in her front yard when Papa and some roofers disturb her peace and quiet. She silently gets up from her work and goes inside, slamming the door behind her. Hassan clearly remembers her ice-cold look that oozes superiority before she disappears. This lady's a real treat so far, right? Yeah, not so much.
The food journey continues. The Hajis are amazed by the French loaves of bread, which are 'rough and gnarled' (6.9) compared to the Indian flat bread.
Hassan witnesses a revolutionary scene across the street that rocks his food world a step further. Mallory is sitting outside with another cook cutting up an artichoke. The meticulous way in which she cuts it up just so represents her by-the-book technique, and he is fascinated.
The artichoke isn't the only thing that catches his eye. He sees Margaret Bonnier, the inn's sous chef, for the first time. (Fun fact: A sous chef is the second-in-command to the head chef, like a captain's first mate.) He finds her short blonde hair and pale skin kind of pretty.
As Marcel and Jean-Pierre, the restaurant's chef-de-cuisine (like the captain), join the other two and serve lunch, Hassan turns away. He is sad because the steaks and frites (fries) served remind him of his French lunch with Mummy in India.
As suddenly as a gust of wind, in fact in a gust of wind, his memories of old times are swept away and replaced with curiosity about his new life. And by his new life we mean French food and women.
Papa finally establishes his new restaurant in large blazing letters—the Maison Mumbai—much to Mallory's horror. Maison is French for home, and Mumbai is the family's home back in India.
Mallory and Papa are equal matches, though, so when Mallory goes to the Town Hall to demand the restaurant be closed, Papa has already covered his bases and made sure that the two restaurants share the same zone so that one cannot be shut down without the other. Well played.
Their next battle takes place in the market where both restaurants are supplied daily with ingredients. The best ingredients, to be precise. Much to Mallory's horror, Papa has beaten her to the pick of the day at the fish market; when she moves on to the produce market, it's the same deal.
She confronts him in the market for a showdown. In typical Mallory style she is contained in her manner and rude in her choice of words, while Papa, in turn, stays true to his loud and demonstrative tactics.
She crosses the limit. She calls him "un chien méchant" (6.120)—meaning a mad dog—and she gets what's coming to her. In a moment that Hassan says is burned into his memory, Papa chases after her barking (yes, barking) in her ear.
Mallory runs away from the market, her hands over her ears. The crowd roars with laughter, probably quite glad that someone has finally fought back.
The day of Maison Mumbai's opening arrives, and the family works day and night to prepare. Hassan officially begins his work in a proper restaurant kitchen.
Remember those vibrant smells from the beginning of the book? Cardamom, lamb brains, all that good stuff? Well, they're back as the kitchen swirls to life.
Ammi is becoming increasingly mentally unstable in her old age, and drifts into the kitchen badgering Hassan about how he should be cooking. It's kind of a bummer.
In a break, on a trip to town for some supplies, Hassan witnesses a Western pig-slaying ceremony at Le Saule Pleureur. The priest, butcher, and chef are all present, and after the priest blesses the scene, the pig is decapitated. The scene is kind of gory and gross overall, yet so foreign that Hassan is weirdly drawn to it. Especially since as a Muslim, he is not allowed to eat pork.