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HOME & FOOD—சதநனல் க்குயங்கள் அன்றும் இன்றும்

The original cuisine of any region reflects the geographical location, the climatic conditions and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. In India, the remarkable contrast in the same has produced a delectable variety in food. The large quantities of wheat produced in the dry plains of the Northern parts make it the staple food there. Similarly, rice forms the staple diet in the South since paddy grows well in the humid Southern climate. So, we have wheat breads like chapthis, puris etc. and rice for the main dish in an Indian meal.

The accompaniments have also evolved from the ingredients readily available around the area. South Indian cooking uses the lentil variety to make the gravy and we have sambar, koottu, pachadi etc.. Andhrites use the peanut a lot to make the sauces. Coconut being plentiful in Kerala, almost all Keralite recipes use the coconut in some form. Tropical climate along India‘s coastline has also made Seafood and tropical fruits part of the coastal diet. The extreme temperatures in the North might have created a dependency on onions to create the gravy for any side dish. We also find a lot of milk-based dishes, using it in the form of paneer, malaai and yogurt where cattle is raised well.


That said about the Geography behind recipes, what about the history behind recipes? Indeed, there is a lot of influence of what happened in the past in our recipes. For instance, the Mughal invaders brought in the biryani, kebaabs and other delicacies. The English rule introduced the bread and other baked stuff.

Visa, இதன்ண fusion recipe ர? சூப்தர இனக்கு,. Post your recipe.

shanthi Chidambaram An after-meal conversation

அண்ண்டி, தண்டிய்க்கர ண்டி ண்டிர இல்ன, அம்னட்டு னேறர இனக்கு - உங்க பதத்ற உங்கபரட்டப அனமர ேமக்கறநர !

Then the concept of cook books became popular. With girls pursuing higher studies and working, nuclear families moving to the cities or bachelors having to cook themselves, there was a need for a source of reference to cook. The earlier cook books were written for people with a general understanding of the kitchen. I was skimming through the pages of this long-ignored, grandfather gifted cook book ‗Saivachhamayal‘ first published in 1967 . It is very interesting to go through an old cook book – you can see the life as lived during that time. Here are a few instances from the book- oru viragai neekki mithamaana soottil varukkavum, aattukkallil vennay pol araithukkollavum, ammiyil naithu vaikkavum, uzhundai kalainthu pin aattavum, arisiyai kalneekki sutham seyyavum and so on. These indicate there were only wood burning hearths, no electric gadgets whatsoever, rice was not cleaned and packed like now, urad dhal with the skin was used. The book tells a lot about thrifty cooking – there are suggestions to save the scraped out murukku maavu, to use the left over idli/dosai batter .

ஆர ேரனர, ன்பணரட இனந்து ேமக்க தகறக்கறணக்கண்டு அப்தத்ர ேமல் ந்றரிச்சு!


Sure Meena, I got the casserole recipe from my colleague’s food blog. அறன ம் ேரமன பேர்த்து என தேட்டிரடு touchகுடுத்துட்படன் !

Now, let us talk about our Chettinad cuisine. It is of course the Tamil food with a lot of tasteful improvisation from the achis of yesteryears. And the touch of exotic spices and cooking style suggested by the Chettiars through their foreign trade and travel.


Our recipes have been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. In those days, it was more of an on-the-job training for young girls to cook. Girls would start assisting in the kitchen, observing to cook and following instructions from the seniors in the kitchen. And they picked up on the culinary style from them.


Now, with the advance in technology, markets becoming global and our inter- cultural exposure both in India as well as in the US, the options are endless. Thanks to the thousands and thousands of bloggers and youtubers (‗youtube‘ is so popular that it can be a verb!). we could find the step by step instructions with photos and video – just search on the ingredient or the name of the dish. Also, the countless cookery shows on TV. Any ingredient that a recipe calls for is made available to us at least in the frozen form or with preservatives. We could make vadai in New Jersey with vazhaipoo from Mexico or make a pizza from scratch in Chennai. If you prefer to cook with the guidance from your mother in India, even that is possible with Skype or face time. You and she could be cooking at the same time. In today‘s world, with our sophisticated lifestyles, what we cook or

how we cook is boundless. However, then, now and always, if we enjoy eating good food, we will cook good food and conversely, if we cook good food, we will enjoy eating good food!

அன்றும் இன்றும் என்றும், பசித்து சதநத்தால் ருசித்து சாப்ிடாம் ! ருசித்து சாப்ிட்டால் பசித்து சதநக்காம் !!

September 2011

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