There is an old not-so-high quality joke in Kerala, which got classic status because ace filmmaker Sreenivasan used it brilliantly in one of his films. Joke goes like this. An elderly man (who has a weak hearing and eye sight) steps into a hair-cutting salon mistaking it as a restaurant and asks “What all you have”. Barber replies as “Cutting and Shaving”. Elderly man’s reply is “Give me both one plate each”. (That is the end of joke, if you did not feel it). I had a very long vacation in India this time spanning two haircuts and lot of food plates in between the two.
I had prepared a list of things to eat while in India and could get almost all of that. I had the taste of many food items whose taste I had missed during last two years of stay in US and most I had missed for last 6 months when my wife was in India. Party started on the day I landed at brother's place with sister in law’s special fish fry and ended with Jackfruit preparation by mother on the day and I left. This is not yet beginning of the Jackfruit season but was lucky to get it delivered in Mangalore by my loving mother in-law.
Since my mother stayed with us, I could taste all of her specialties including Pradhaman, Koottu curry, Tapioca and Fish curry and rice payasam. Even though I was missing wifey’s cooking only for six months it was great to taste the Avial, Fish fry and Kara Para dosa again. Also had the full Sadhya prepared by my wife and mom on the birthday of my son. Two weekends we could spend at in-laws place made sure that my mother in law made all her specialties like Avial, Neyyappam, Chicken curry and fry and more of Tapioca. The Pal payasam at one of Smitha’s relatives was just heavenly.
After eating all these I realize the difference of use of fresh ingredients make to taste of any dish, other than the obvious ones like Fish and Coconut even the milk and fresh curry leaves add to the taste of food. And more importantly the amount of love you add to the dish just takes it to next level. If anyone feels jealous reading all this, it is not my fault that I got such loving wife, mother and in-laws.
My eating out wish list was left incomplete for two items. Had the Gadbad from Ideals, Laddoos of Balettan , Kinnathappam of Brothers bakery and Mangalore style Pomfret masala fry but two items in the list, Some like it hot from Cherry Square and Malabar Chicken Biryani from Kairali were left unfulfilled. Next time!