Thank God we didn’t have TV in my childhood, we escaped the invasion of sugar-filled soft drinks and chocolate bars in our house. All we got to taste was some pretty awesome local and homemade snacks. I feel pity for my nieces and nephews who couldn’t experience those. And I am shocked to see myself talking as if I am from 1950’s :).
Moms of 90’s kids used to prepare an evening snack every day. My favourites are Puttu a dish made out of steamed rice/millet flour mixed with sesame oil and seasoned with palm sugar and grated coconut, Kolukattai a dish cooked in steam with delicious salt or sweet filling, Bajji a snack made out of any vegetable dipped in chickpea batter and deep fried, Ulundhu vadai a fried dish made out of black gram batter, Aval flattened rice flakes with milk and sugar.
We made the school breaks tangy with tamarind fruits from the trees on our school ground, Raw mango, Gooseberries, Pineapple with salt and chilly from the vendors in front of our school. I am salivating while writing this.
Summer at our native place had even more to offer. Our favourite place to eat was our village petty shops. It was a magic place where we got everything we liked. As if it was not enough we used to roam around and eat everything we could find on trees and plants like Elandhai pazham(Indian Jujube), Curry leaf tree’s fruit, kodikai puli (Monkeypod), Tamarind, Nungu (Palmyra friut), Ground nut and varieties of Ice (popsicles).
The Quest for taste didn’t end there.
Till I got a job and moved to Chennai, I knew that India is a diverse country only through books. I experienced it in that office. There were people from all over India and yes there was food from all over India. I was ready for another adventure. Every time a friend went home for vacation he/she would return with loads of snacks from his/her’s place. I got to taste many new snacks whick I had never tasted before like Orange burfee from Nagpur, Kaaju katli (cashew sweet), Pootharekulu (paper sweet made from rice flour and jaggery) from Andra pradesh, Khakra from Gujarat, Rasgulla from Bengal, varieties of chips from Kerala and many more whose name I couldn’t remember.
Though I have tasted varieties of snack whenever I go to my native I go in search of petty shops. Nothing could make me forget the taste of those small treats that sweetened my childhood.