This tubby little chef came up on our tree this year; it has been a year and a few months since this blog started off tentatively.
Our plans for Christmas Cooking with cakes, cookies, and a party with friends changed with the weather and an annual 'puja' at the temple. The annual ritual is quintessentially Keralite, while it has gained importance worldwide among the South Indian diaspora.
Why quintessentially Keralite / Malayalee? Think of a state that officially boasts of complete literacy, has a robust [;-) ] political system, a Marxist government running the state, boasting of a certain kind of intellengentia both fake and faux that can be spotted anywhere in the world, an unusually large number of NRIs who have 'seen' the world and so on and so forth..... and a population that happily holds on to things that are totally contradictory !
Our happy co-existence with an unhealthy appetite for the dowry system and the yellow metal, a thriving liquor industry, a large bunch of insufferable NRIs [ :-D ], chauvinism and all kinds of '-isms' makes us supremely suitable for humour and this annual ritual combines all our Mallu-failings spectacularly!
Our friend who religiously observed 41 days of abstinence from his favourite fish curries, chicken and mutton roasts but held onto eggs-in-cake/cookies-ok and his hot-drinks!
The sharp tongue-ed Ms. G who went to a party, 'forgot', ate fish biryani and started fasting again after early morning bath the next day.
Ms A who cooked and packed vegetarian stuff for a ski trip.
And Ms. A's hubby who on this ski-trip 'forgot' and ate a Cheese-burger and shrugged it off and continued with the 'fast'! By the way Mr. A is an atheist.
The college leader from the red party who religiously undertook the fast and pilgrimmage.
S's hubby who left the puja half way remembering a kudi-party/ hot-drink party and cards.
S-Maami who says cakes, cookies and pasta are ok!
The one's who wear the wooden beads and beard as a badge, the machinations at the temple and the tussle with the Tamil group for the mike and bhajans to be sung either in Tamil or Malayalam are not without the much needed dose of year-end-humour!
Political correctness, and gender issues apart the annual ritual brings strong emotions through the Bhajans/Hymns sung during the Puja. It still evokes a part of perhaps a more egalitarian history through forgotten words of a Buddhist and Jain past, then the memories of family rituals and nostalgia.
So after a day of Uzhunu Vada and Chutney, Channa Dal Kachori we went out into the snow, drove to the temple, attended the puja, had a divine collection of rice and jaggery pudding, rounding off with a simple curd rice and sambhar. Detailed recipe posts tomorrow. Hope you all had a wonderful occassion with loved one's and good food!