Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chronicles of an amateur foodie..

Bitting into the Ghee Roast of Saravana Bhanvan on a late evening at my office, I was just wondering on how this ghee roast has seen my metamorphosis over the years. I seldom think about the food when I eat and it never happens when I am eating at office in the late evenings, when your mind so tired of extrapolating the thoughts of people whom you never see and the stony looking avaya has finally stopped the hours of screaming after series of meetings.

I was about six ,my first memory of eating at Saravana Bhavan at parrys corner with my grand parents. My patti( grandma) just knows how much I love eating out.There it was my very first ghee roast at SB , the pink , green, white chutneys and classic SB samabar.I said in excitement "Patti see they make so many different chutneys for a single dosa here, at home mom makes only one",my grandma flashes her mischievous smile of a mother in law.

Here I am after years have passed sitting in the same spot at the parrys corner Sarvana Bahavan , with Radhika, with the ghee roast in front of us. The ghee roast in its avatar has seen my transformation from childhood to boyhood to manhood.I heard on a cricket commentary some years back, that Henry Olanga of Zimbabwe can run 100m under 10 sec, that's almost Olympic standards( die hard fans of (Kenya/India) vs Zimbabwe matches who had taken an off from their work to watch these matches must surely remember this great legend). Here is a girl in front of me who can actually achieve a similar feat with the ghee roast. Gulp down the entire ghee roast under 55 seconds, now that's almost Olympic standards too, if only they had a ghee roast eating competition.

Back then I never used finish one full ghee dosa, usually my grandparents jump in to finish it for me. But now my appetite can comfortably accommodate a ghee roast+21 mini ghee idly + a full falooda. Now that kinda of a foodie who can make Adam richman (man vs food guy) proud of.

By the way, I dont go out with Radhika anymore , we happened to punch each others face in a fight over last slice of pizza at a pizzahut outlet. She mentioned to me that she is a foodie , I discovered her to be a voluminous foodie, but then finally she turned out to be violent foodie.(The local Nungabakkam times refused to publish the incident , classifying it as minor incident not worth publishing,clear sign that this newspapers is heading towards its dooms day, they need to learn a lot from their national counterpart "Times of India").

When I was young I used to think how much fun it should be for people who constantly travel,stay at hostels or work at restaurant , they get to eat out everyday. My mom even went to the extent to tell me I should marry girl whose father owns a restaurant business.In the Rajinikanth movie "Arunachalam" the scene where Rajinikath's father tells him a story of how his father made him get rid of his obsession for Surutu(cottage cigars). He filled a room full of cigars and said "Son smoke as many cigars as you can, by the morning I come back you should have done smoking the entire lot of cigars in the room". From that day on , he was sick of cigars so much that he had never laid hands on a cigar till this day into his old age. Now that when you have Saravan Bhavan available around the clock at your office , and the sangeethas, anjapars, karaikudis, ponuswamys, nallas appakadais , sea shells have opened up more and more branches with your past 3 years of earnings and you make a balance inquiry of your debit card and it shows 94.40 and credit card shows limit left 42.50. You attain a state of foodie super consciousness , that you feel detached from every desire to eat out anymore. You have attained nirvana, you can no more fall for the seductions of the restaurant owner's daughter.

With each passing episode of Man vs Food , the pressure keeps mounting on my PM , I piss him of with my VISA initiation. I switched 3 companies in three years , forgo a offer of short term trip to Denver in my last company , only to spend at least a year in the steak heaven with Adam. People have varied reason to go onsite, mostly its money, sometimes yeah travel, but am for the food.

There was this day with my dad in one coffee houses in Gwalior, where we ordered a masala dosa, there the guy brings the dosa with fork and knife. We brushed it aside thinking that it must be standard protocol to bring fork and knife along with the food , irrespective of the food ordered.But a turn to left, I see this guys (definitely new to dosas), cutting the dosa with the knife , piercing it with a fork and dipping it in sambar. Here is where the wisdom words of my manager(modern day Aristotle) comes to my mind "Just because you have all the tools in the box, doesn't mean you should use them, use only the hammer of the right size to drive in the nail".

Back then in my childhood days I was never fond of curd rice, until one day my grandma forced me to eat curd rice along with mango pickle she bottled a day before. Boy, I was hooked, I never knew curd rice tasted so heavenly along with oil dripping form the mango pickle.Its was byfar eating curd rice for the sake of pickle than for anything else.And there have been so many similar reversal habits that has happened over the years, especially with brijal,carrot,lettuce ect ,I was able to revoke my dogmatism about this veggies with later found wisdom.(There are also reversal of several other habits that happened of over the years,that I cannot talk here "innocence lost" :D)

Just the other at lunch at office I intrigued by tail spinning decline in the crowds of Ratna Cafe at TCS-Sirueri , ( Not aware of such phenomenon at Ratna cafes in other IT parks as well). We used to stand atleast for 15 mins in Q to get our lunch , but this days the only people who come to Rantna cafe cafeteria are the ones who bring their own lunch.The root cause, an act of blasphemy in restaurant business, "You no more care for people who come to eat at your place". Apart from the fact the curd tasted like mud , and veggies look garbage pile, they dont even seems to care for basic things like pickle jar or curd chilies or podis, which enhance any mean meal. This are definitely not ingredients which skyrocket the operational cost. Its just taking everything for granted under the umbrella of a brand name.Food is about care as equally its about taste and nutrition.I have this dream ambition to open a restaurant someday, if that wish does materializes,empathy would be its bottomline of my business vision.

Sea food is some thing which has never excited me, and the bones in fish were big haunts . I just don't have patience to deal with it. Although my belief in astrology is only just about recent past, I somehow always had this extreme diversion over feasting on crab, this diversion has stayed with me from the faintest of memory I could recollect. Now that am aware of a being a cancerian, it now sinks in to me of why I hated eating crabs, its almost cannibalism .

Spending most of the little time I spend for tv, watching food programs on any give channel, and I find it increasing stiffing with the fact that I cannot cook. Just like a woman completes a man, a foodie's life is complete only when he learns to cook.I wish attain this state of completeness in sometime, Foodies reading this please shower your ashirvaads on me.

Eat and let others eat,

This blog dedicated to my guruji Adam.(In pic above) . Guruji specializes in skills to approach any food with surgical precision, which I religiously use in my day to days life with atmost devotion :D.