Monu passed on this interesting tag.

Five memorable meals ever eaten: It could be anything that makes the meal memorable – the food, the place, the place you were in your life when you ate, the company, the weather, the ambiance – heck, the guy who served the food!”.

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” — George Bernard Shaw

I started to work on it right away as there is something really nice about this tag.  I always feel a meal tastes the best when it is served by someone with a genuine smile on their lips and warmth in their heart.  Its the feeling in their heart which makes the meal delicious in addition to the sugar-n-spice! The most important ingredient in any dish is love!

There are ‘n’ number of places I love eating at! Restaurants, dine-ins, Ice-cream corners, chat streets apart, this tag brought back fond memories of  relationships. Strong bonds have been forged, new friends have been found – friendships which are gonna last a lifetime *touchwood* over simple food.Food, not only for the body, but for the soul too :bulb:

What I am going to share here are such experiences which made me realize that love is what matters the most! Strangers have come forward and helped us, with absolutely no expectations. Such incidents re-instill our lost faith in virtues and values. Its really really difficult to share 5 of them. All of these came to my mind and I cannot leave out any of them as they are really really close to my heart! Well, its not @ all new for u ppl to see longgg posts on my blog rt 😉

Amma-Appana kai adige [Mom n Dad’s cooking]

What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?  ~Lin Yutang

Home-made food tops anybody’s list and is no different for me 🙂 What I love more is  the sync b/w Mom n Dad when I see them cooking together. Mom making the Sabji on one side and Dad stirring the Dal on the other side has always been a wonderful sight for us to watch. Mamma would be rolling the rotis and Dad would be flipping them on the tawa. They have been the best chefs for me till date and will continue to be so.  Juggling between a demanding job and being a perfect home maker, Mom hs always been my best time-management Guru. Be it Pickles, sweets, savouries – she used to attend to all our needs and greeds too 😛

The man who welcomed each of the three women of the household with a smile on his lips, followed by a cup of strong coffee and yummy, innovative snacks every single day though we would have come back from office just mins before us taught me how easy it is to please ppl with warmth and affection.  Fruit salad one day, some chat the other day and so on, he always kept trying new recipes to welcome his wife and daughters to an aroma-filled home 🙂

They say home is the first school isn’t it – Thatz where I first learnt what equality, mutual respect, understanding, caring and sharing is all about 🙂

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Mysore, Ajji Mane and Vacations 🙂

If God had intended us to follow recipes,
He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

Goes to show how much each daughter values her Mother’s efforts and the food she prepares, Mom always had a standard answer whenever we asked her how she would prepare so many things, how she managed time et..al! U shud have seen ur grandma .. she would prepare enough for all her six kids + their friends and never never complained! And she ws rt! That ws how my grandma was! She ws synonymous with active for me.

Come vacations and Mysore would be our destination. We had a list ready with us days before – what all we wanted her to prepare – 2 lists mind u – One ws mine and Sis hd her own! As time passed, it sort of became a tradition, there were more grandchildren and more lists and yes, she used to cater to all our needs!  The best thing used to be the kai-thuthu all of us cousins and the elders, whoever used to be there on weekends to have fun with us, would sit together and eat from Ajji’shands. Kai thuthu is where all the people sit around one person [usually the elder people in the family] and the person goes on placing well-mixed yummy food on each one’s hands! There used to be competitions like who eats more, who will finish first and so on! Believe me, thatz one time elders will behave like kids or even more for sure! And yes, we used to gorge on double the quantity we have if we eat normally! Golden days!

Mom’s ws a closely-knit family of 5 sisters and one brother and even the daughter-in-law and 5 Sons-in-law getting along like they were natural siblings. We used to go on annual trips together and it used to be wonderful! Once, we were on a South India trip and in the temple town of Tirupati, we got lots of Puliyogare and Curd rice as prasadam. Ajji took over and all of us sat together for Kai-thuthu! One day I will never never forget in my life forever 🙂

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The better-half and the best maid 🙂

“Food responds to our soul’s dream as to our stomach’s appetite.” – Joseph Delteil

Su makes the best Dosas in the world! Be it crispy, soft – however u want it, here is the person u can turn to! The patience with which he cooks them uniformly on sim fire is worth watching!

Apart from being an expert Dosa-maker and cooking simple meals, Su mostly takes care of the cleaning department. Cooking is not his usual cup of tea! Give him a horribly dirty house and still the end result will be a spick and span one, which looks completely new! I always thought I was insane abt cleanliness till I married this guy! He is my grandpa when it comes to cleaning! Marriages are sure made in heaven eh 8)

What comes to my mind though is one incident which is always very very close to my heart. I was down with a fever sometime last year! Su was managing the kitchen well enuf and I used to get hot, tasty meals in time 🙂 We both prefer tiffin over rice – be it dosas, rotis and so on one of those days, I casually mentioned how I missed rotis and I should somehow make them for breakfast the next day. Su hd never tried his hands @ them; rotis kept him away .. he used to stand with me and watch of max flip them over but never got to rolling them.  The next day morning, I ws woken up by Su to head to the breakfast table with hot rotis and yummy sabji to go with it!  He hd woken up early, caught hold of my maid Maniamma, taken her help with rolling them and here they were – really nice rotis :).  One word of mine .. a causal one @ that and he had done it for me! In people’s words, dancing to his wife’s tunes 😛

And the next day morning, Maniamma came with a bowl of Upma and a cup of hot tea. It really did bring tears to my eyes. She told me how she had got Coriander leaves, added some ghee too and made Upma for me and asked I would mind eating it! I called her in and ate it then and there and told her how tasty it ws 🙂 She ws really happy and so was I! It was such a warm gesture from her side! Truly a sweet experience 🙂

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A Mother by another name!

“Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.” – Ina Garten

Yup! This is abt my MIL 🙂 It might sound filmy and its defintely not true that we have never had misunderstandings or fought ever petty matters 😛 After all, we both wanted 100% of the love of this man who is a son to her and husband to me 😉 😉

But, this gesture of hers truly touched me.  It ws a day 3 yrs back, we were newly married and I was still getting used to the new place though I had known the in-laws too for yrs nw, trying to find love, to grow over small misunderstandings etc.. It hd been a strenuous week @ work and Su used to pick me up from office @ abt 10:30 p.m or so daily. On this day, he just saw me felt that the work had taken its toll on me, that I was looking dull and feverish and called up the family doc immediately and dragged me there 😛

The doctor cracked a joke that the husband was trying to please his newly-wed and said it ws just bcoz of the strain and asked me to rest well over the weekend. He added that moong dal payasam could do some good for me 😉 I wonder how serious he was but Su def. took it so and was the first thing he told his Mom when we got home. I just pushed it away and went to my room to get fresh! The sweet aroma of the moong dal being sauted with desi ghee was what greeted me when I came out!  Well past her bed-time, a kitchen completely cleaned, all set for the next morning and here she was making the payasam for me!  I could see the Mother in her that day!  Well, sweet memories as such are what make life worth living rt 🙂

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My friend C

“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.” – Norman Kolpas

We used to share our lunch daily, went out for lunch on every Friday and used to have a superb time with each other!

The gas cylinder @ home had got over and as it goes, the stupid ppl neither grant a second one nor is the empty one replaced quick enuf! C had called me on one such day and I ws just telling her how the gas got over and we had to leave the half-cooked meal and turn to the oven for a quick replacement. The next day in office, she came in with two lunch packs!  Thanks a lot C! I really really miss u now 😦

Another day, we were casually talking abt hw its nice to eat at a friend’s place as its a welcome change from eating what we cook daily. The next day morning, an SMS lands in my inbox asking me not to carry lunch to office! Her house ws close to office and she took me home during lunch and there was a delicious spread! She had made so many items that I like before coming to office and it ws a real treat! I don’t have an elder sister C, but if there ws one, she would certainly be like u 🙂

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Kalka OmPrakash

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”  – J.R.R. Tolkien

So reads an entry on my contact list! We had been to a trip to Himachal Pradesh for X’mas ’07. We were supposed to take the Kalks-Shimla narrowgauge train early in the morning @ 5 a.m. A morning flight from Hyderabad-Delhi and then a train journey from Delhi-Kalka had got us to Kalka late in the night .. we hardly had 4-5 hrs left for the train and so were on the lookout for a place nearby to spend the night!  We were terribly hungry and were looking arnd it we could get anything to eat. It ws then that we met OmPrakash, who used to work in the railway pantry. He gave us a few details and while we wer still hunting for food, he offered us help and escorted us to a nearby lodge and got us a room. He immediately called some person. We could only figure out it ws regarding our dinner. All I could hear was this person saying ‘Sona hai to so ja; lekin usse pehela 4 roti aur koi achchi si sabji bana lena; main lene aa raha hoon” He did not give us a chance to say anything. He ran down and was back in about half an hr with hot rotis and yummy aloo-matar! Tell me, do I need to say more? It would have touched anyone rt! He ws not ready to take anything for the help! It ws really a gr8 gr8 help for us as we were getting ready to eat the few biscuits and fruits we had and go to bed!  Was it the time, or the hunger, the warmth or whatever – its one of the best meals I have ever had!

We are in touch with OmPrakash even now and hope to meet him someday when we plan a trip to HP again!

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Loved doing this tag Monika and I would love to hear from all of u too 🙂 Pls take this tag and share ur cherished memories 🙂

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” James Beard quotes

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