Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “the first 2-5 words at the top of the closest printed matter.” Open (if necessary) the closest printed matter to you. Use the first 2-5 words at the top of the page any way you’d like in your post. Have fun!
I am reading a fascinating book, Indian Food tradition, A Historical Companion by K T Achaya. I have always been interested in history and this book is history of food through the ages in different parts of our country. I am now reading the chapter on Regional Cuisines. The author has studied many literary works written in the last thousand years. Just before I read Linda’s prompt, I had read these words –The procession of tastes at a meal…
This reminded me of what my husband had to say about his friends who attended our wedding forty years ago. Lunch was served on banana leaves. The different side dishes were (and even today are) palya, menasukayi, rasam, sambhar, majjige huli, desserts like payasa, holige, jilebi and boondi laddu. Till recently people sat on mats placed on the floor. There used to be several rows of people eating food in the hall. Each dish had its own place on the leaf and then there was a procession of tastes as the dishes were served and eaten with relish. Some of my husband’s friends were newcomers to our place and did not know that many dishes were going to be served. Rasam was served first. They ate their fill of rice, rasam and the other curries. They were dismayed when sambhar, majjige huli , payasa and other items were served one after another 😊.
The author has given pencil sketches of the arrangement of food on the banana leaves in different states. In Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu rice is the main item on the menu. Along with their particular places on the leaves, the side dishes are served in a specific sequence. And this varies from region to region. Soon after people sit on the mats, salt, pickle and dry dishes are served.
Then comes rice followed by rasam, sambhar and majjige huli, payasa and again majjige huli. Sweets like laddoo, holige, jilebi and payasa are important. Each dish is served twice. The second time is an enquiry. Some enjoy a second helping. Rice is asked three or four times for rasam, sambhar and majjige huli. The course ends with rice and buttermilk or curds.
Then Sanskrit and Kannada shlokas are recited by some diners. My father-in-law enjoyed reciting, his voice carried all over the hall and he had a distinct style of singing. The unwritten rule is that all people rise together after the meal. This means that no one should leave the dining space as and when they please. For the uninitiated the process seems complicated. I remember those days when serving food in such functions I would ask again and again where on the leaf I should place each curry. I did not want to make a mistake 😊.
With time, there are changes but not in the places for the dishes or in the sequence of the procession. Now a days there are tables and chairs for most guests. The priests and a few guests sit on the floor. In 1982, my maternal grandfather flatly refused to arrange for buffet at our wedding😊. The very thought of people holding plates seemed repulsive to him. But now it is convenient for people who are in a hurry. Buffet is another important change.
https://youtu.be/OD_fxK2namE Sambhar recipe
https://youtu.be/I9eLPitJtpY Majjige huli
https://youtu.be/S-3MAy5pMf8 Tomato rasam recipe
https://youtu.be/cyCkjo2JyAE Holige recipe
https://youtu.be/Xk6jvyCWzwA Boondi laddu recipe