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The menu for lunch yesterday included rice, sambar, avial, fried-in-coconut oil seer fish, stir-fried okra, fresh raw mango pickle and papadoms. It had been a special request from the Second Born who was visiting after three years. The girl from Serbia aka the Second Born’s partner, tucked into the meal with relish like a true-blue Malayali from God’s Own Country, Kerala.

For dinner there was potato and vegetable stew (coconut milk being its base) with chapatis, the Indian flat bread. There was also fresh vegetable salad and fried fish again. (Living in Kerala by the way, is all about fish, fish, more fish and some more fish.) ‘Mmm…. I love this!’ she said about the stew, delicately flavoured with spices, curry leaves and (again!) coconut oil

Today morning I had to send the L&M on a quest to get some prawns because the online stores I order from didn’t seem to have any. He didn’t have to go far and found them in a place very close to home. The Second Born had told me that his girl loved prawns. So today’s lunch was Basmati rice and prawns masala along with the leftover avial from yesterday and some vegetables.

It is amazing how someone whose country’s cuisine totally differs from our own in every way could just dive into our kind of food with so much enjoyment. It was indeed a pleasure to watch her eating, and with her hands too unlike the spoon and fork she is used to otherwise.

Through it all, I couldn’t help but recall the number of times I have encountered people from my own country, especially from the northern regions, who have turned up their noses at the very mention of Kerala food. ‘Ugh, they have coconut oil in everything!’ they have said in disgust unwilling to even try something different from the cuisine of their own region.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow is another day, and I have menus to plan for the upcoming week 🙂

© Shail Mohan 2023