Palate Dairies

It is 3 a.m. and there is the sound of the mixer running and the whistle of the cooker, and I’m sure Manjula aunty (my next house neighbor since my childhood) will surely ask my mom tomorrow, and perhaps gossip with others too!

The rumbling in the stomach increases as the smell of the spicy chilies and asafetida enters the nose lining. Yes, it’s me hungry at this unusual hour of the night as I did not have my dinner owing to my anger. You ask me why the anger? I had to attend a seminar along with my friend and after the event, we decided to sum up the result of the seminar before reaching home. I reached a little above my prescribed time of return and had to hear an earful from my mother. I was angry and as usual, showed it up on the food. 

Lesson learned: Do Not Show Your Anger on Food, you are the one who will end up starving and you pretty well know you cannot stay in this condition even an hour more than your prescribed lunch or dinner time! 

Talking about lunch or meals at school reminds me and takes me back to a time when we used to enjoy these short breaks outside the classrooms, chit-chatting, discussing what our moms cook the best, the pot lucks, and sharing or exchanging of lunch boxes. Lunchtime also teaches children the love for food, the appreciation of food, and the hard work that goes on in the preparation of food. Though as children we do not express our gratitude towards food in such direct ways, when we finish our lunch and reach home with empty boxes, our mothers know “we loved the food. 

Here is an incident I like to share: 

Sharing lunch was a usual practice and if ever my lunch box was packed with Akki poori then I for sure had to exchange it with Shreya, my best buddy from school. So one afternoon on this ‘lunch exchange day’ without thinking twice I opened Shreya’s box and started eating. And she went, “Madhuri! No…no …..stop eating ……it is chicken fried rice”. “Aiyooooooooooooo …. what should I do now?” This is how I shrieked!!

There was a great sense of guilt as I reached home but somehow I gathered the courage to confess it to mom. “Amma you know by my mistake I ate chicken today.” Fireworks.. dum dum dum dum .. started bursting all over the house and every nook and corner witnessed my mother’s anger. She even made it a point to keep me out of the house for several hours. 

Now, Amma loves it when we complete our lunch and feels extremely happy about it. But, she is also particular in reminding us what she expects us to eat from time to time. That’s my Amma!

Ha! Ha! Ha! all of these memories seem so nice to date. Food has and will always be an integral aspect of my conversations. I have observed that food is also a topic that nobody refuses to talk about. My friends and I spend quality time every Saturday at breakfast huddles. For this to happen, we make sure to complete the assigned work within the breakfast hour and sit peacefully to discuss the various recipes, our choice of food, and what our family members, esp. our husbands and children like having. This, in turn, has helped us in bonding better and also in understanding each other in a food way 🙂

I conclude by saying that eating with the family, friends or loved ones brings us together. Through this, we can share our culture and heritage and give each other nourishment too! Coming together and sharing a meal is the most secular and harmonious thing in almost every place in the world. It unites and strengthens community bonds and maintains a common identity among a group of people. 

There ends my diary for the day! 

Happy Eating!! 

By, Madhuri.V. Iyer, CCA Coordinator, Ekya BTM 

Posted by Ekya

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