Saturday, April 2, 2016

Food matters!

“Annam parabhrama swaroopam” that is my relationship with food.  The quote from Upanishads   is ingrained into me since childhood, yes “Food is god”  for me.

The strongest and earliest food memory I have is of my parents kitchen where the kitchen was treated more like a pooja room. As a little girl, I would watch amma wash the kitchen platform, wipe it clean and then put kolam on the platform and a small pattern on the gas stove also. This was followed at  grandparents place  and in my in-laws’ place too.   Cooking is more like a sacred  ritual in our household.

My elders would step into kitchen  only after a bath, cook the food with prayers on their lips. Such prayers and vibrations would render the food healing it is believed. The food is then offered to God (neivedyam) following which the food is offered to ancestors who are supposed to be in the form of crows.  

This is another memory I remember. During my vacation time at Mylapore,  I and my cousins would be called to offer the first morsel to crows. Patti would scoop out rice in a ladle, add a little dal and ghee over and hand it over to us, we would run  over two flights of stairs and reach the terrace and place it over the concrete chimney. We would  sniff at the aroma emanating from the chimney and hmmm….the aroma still lingers  Wow! Just writing about this makes me feel good.  We would also fill a bowl of water for crows.Only then were we supposed to eat.


Eating was not just holding a plate on our hand or our lap. We ate properly squatting on floor or on the dining table. It was mindful eating of what went into the plate. It was considered unhealthy to eat with a plate on our hand and also disregard , afterall so much of hardwork has gone into growing, sourcing and making  that meal. Appa was very particular about not spilling grain from the plate that I ate.

There was no question of trashing food also. Each and every grain was used and even the leftovers went into making of a new dish or into “Pazhedu” . Wasting food was considered a disregard to “God of food” Annapoorani.


Thanks to my elders who have inculcated such healthy food habits, maybe that is why I am not very fussy when it comes to food, i eat anything healthy and vegetarian. Even today, I follow all those and as far as possible inherently be kind to food and nature. 

Written for "Explore your relationship with Food" on Indispire #foodfads

10 comments:

  1. Oh No. Food does not matter ! But then you would expect me to say that , won't you.

    Crows have evolved these days. The Madras crow refuses to eat cooked rice, preferring raw rice instead !

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    1. respect your views Ramesh, but stand by my post. i believe in holistic living and so such practices matter and food too :)...yeah crows are almost extinct in my place leave alone eating raw rice....here we have more pigeons.

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  2. madras crow eats only biscuit chocolate..no saadham..

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    1. adhaiyum matheeteengala....what about Pizza? Pasta?

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  3. Replies
    1. glad you feel the same, Bikram. thanks.

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  4. I am in awe of the rituals your elders followed regarding food preparation and eating too. True, respecting food is sacrosanct!

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    1. all practices were related to holistic living, shilpa... just what new age gurus of today preach like mindful eating, conscious doing etc...

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  5. I can totally relate to your post. Even my grandma used to practice all these rituals. Of course in those days they had only cholas built with mud i think, and she used to put kolam, and only then cook. There used to be a well outside a big Kitchen window from which she used to draw water for cooking. And she would grind for Idly/ dosa in the Stone grinder with hand. We used to fight to pump water when she washed all those silver cooking vessels with ash, how they used to shine. I still remember, how she used to make Batchnams and keep them locked in the netted cupboard, and just giving us a few pieces in a donai. In the afternoons she would make curd rice and give us in our palms with some pickle, it would taste so yummy, I can still remember the taste, and I have often done that to my own children, telling them stories about life at that time. Somehow with so many of us landing there for summer holidays, she never felt tired working single handedly for all of us. I wonder how they had that kind of stamina.
    Here we cannot handle our own small family, leave alone entertaining guests.

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  6. yes rama, what fun it was to eat food when placed on palms. I think life was fun when 'When less was more".

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