Although I have spent my childhood growing up in culturally diverse places, I am a proper south Indian brahmin girl who loves her ‘kaapi’ first thing in the morning. A cup of freshly brewed filter coffee is an absolute must. It might be a tiny little detail in my entire routine for the day, but my day isn’t complete without it. Such are the impacts of simple foods in our lives.
Another one of my ‘simples’ is a plate of steaming hot idlis coupled with – no, it’s not sambar. Not for me. I love to team my idlis with the fiery and absolutely lip-smacking – ‘milagai podi’! Oh yes! I am a self proclaimed ‘podi’ lover! I simply adore the combination. When the white, soft, moon-like idlis smothered in the oil mixed orangish ‘podi’ enter your mouth, you can instantly experience bliss! The best part of the ‘podi’ is its crunchiness which goes very well with those soft idlis. And as I write this, I am reminded of one of the most unexpected but delicious encounters with my above mentioned comfort food.
I was in Chennai during one of my school vacations and I, along with my parents, made a surprise visit to one of my distant relative’s house (my aunt’s uncle or someone….I really cannot recollect!) Now since we had arrived during tea-time (or coffee time in Chennai!), we were warmly asked to stay for coffee and tiffin. The hostess quickly steamed some idlis and served them in banana leaves. For those who are not aware, any warm food that comes in contact with a banana leaf gives the food an entirely new dimension of taste. Those hot idlis with ‘podi’ on that banana leaf tasted heavenly. And as the hostess voiced her apologies for not being able to serve us a more elaborate meal, I, on the other hand, happily enjoyed as many idlis as I could!
Sometimes, even an exquisite meal cannot replace the plain tastes of our comfort foods.