|( Photo: My own)|
“Sometimes a man needs something to keep him going. I am not talking of lofty ideals or the thought of jannat awaiting him in the hereafter. Sometimes it is only a meal that he needs to propel him into the next day… a meal that to him is representative of home and comfort.”
--- Idris, Anita Nair.
How rightly said. Food often brings in nostalgia. A sumptuous feast goes a long way in deepening friendships, in creating bonds that last a lifetime. Sometimes it is food memories that you associate with a person or thing. Sometimes the smell or taste of a particular food brings in a flood of fond memories of a time long gone. The smell of coffee from college canteen, of fish fry from your favorite restaurant, of cakes baking in the oven in your aunt’s kitchen…
For me, the taste of dal curry brings in memories of my Grandmother. The taste of her simple dal curry still has the capability of making me drool. Whenever I make Rasam, I remember my father, because it was his favorite. I still remember how he used to flood the rice with Rasam and mash it before savoring it with relish. I love Rasam because it reminds me of him and his love. Whenever I feel down, I make Rasam or Dal. They have become my comfort food just because they remind me of people whom I loved and who do not exist in my world anymore. Yet, they appear before me as these ephemeral visuals whenever my taste buds recognize the taste of their favorite food.
There can also be food memories that leave the worst impact on us. Some foods which we tasted while we were undergoing harrowing times often leave a bad taste in our mouth. Even if the food was tasty and something which we loved over a time, we would never be able to eat them with the same fondness. I have a friend who witnessed a horrible accident while she was eating panipuri by the roadside. She confesses she cannot eat panipuris without remembering the blood and horror of the accident that she witnessed; the cries of the desperate mother who had lost two of her kids to a speeding car. The same food that she once cherished is now the bearer of her worst horrors. She hasn’t eaten a panipuri ever since.
There are also some foods that we become averse to during a certain period in our life. Egg omelets were my favorite till I got pregnant. Once I conceived, I couldn’t stand its smell and would vomit if I were to stand in the kitchen where it was being prepared. I used to run outside and wait till it was cooked, eaten and the vessels cleaned. Nor could I tolerate eating any non-vegetarian food. I would immediately throw up. Rice flakes of red rice or Avil became my favorite food. My husband used to joke that maybe I am having a noble soul inside my womb who could not stand non-vegetarian food and loved Avil.
Do you have food memories that have left an impact on you?