Mallus are so so stuck up when it comes to their food. Avial ain’t avial if it didn’t have the standard vegetables as per the recipe the family followed the last few centuries.
I dread when my relatives come for a visit. I am a good cook and can whip up a decent meal normally..”Normally” here means anyone other than my mallu relatives. For them, a meal is a meal only if it is nadan. This need to confirm to all things nadan extends from carting Chadrika soap the size of eli kattam so they won’t feel bad leaving the soap behind ( as per the good manners guide) when they leave, for it was already very “small” when they brought it with them! and to everything else that makes them show absolute loyalty to their mallu compatriot still living in Kerala.
And I resort to cheating..
Let me explain..
Sometime ago, I had the misfortune of cooking for a Kottayam Achayan and his family.
He loved to drink kattan kappi .
“Nothing beat a glass of bed coffee first thing in the morning” Said the Achayan in such a tone as to ensure that I got the message loud and clear.
Normally one would think that if you are visiting someone, you adjust a bit and don’t make the life of your host a living hell. But that isn’t a trait you see in Mallus. For they always had kattan kappi and will continue to have it come what may.
As I wrote before, I was taught to treat my visitors well and though I am tempted to tell them off, I don’t.
I made a conscious effort to make my relatives feel at home. But trouble started the next day with the bed coffee..
Achayan wanted a second cup of coffee and instead of having the Achayathi mucking around my well organized kitchen, I chose to make the coffee.
“What is that?” They asked
“That” was raw sugar. ( I don’t buy white sugar because I don’t see the need to buy something that is processed/bleached to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.)
“I only like white sugar, no wonder the coffee tasted bad” said the same idiot who asked for a second cup of coffee.
I was tempted to clobber him to a pulp, but didn’t. Instead, I found the sugar cubes (white) that I keep aside for camping and made the coffee. Achayan drank the coffee victoriously and pronounced ” this is real coffee”
The truth is over the next few days I ran out of sugar cubes and Achayan and his family drank coffee with raw sugar.
Did they notice the difference? Not at all.
Do I feel guilty? Not at all !