20 July 2010

An Ode to the South Indian Breakfast

O, Ye south Indian breakfast;
Thou art the greatest breakfasts in the world!
Thou fillest me with a joyful feeling,
Reaching into every corner of my soul and body,
Igniting me to life each day with the perfect balance of sensation,
With sweet and spice,
With refreshing coolness and exhilarating heat.
Like the culture and religion around you,
You have evolved over a thousand years,
To become a perfection.

Ye startest with Idli, that saucer-shaped pillow of soft, absorbent pleasure,
Made of slightly sour rice flour, steamed into light, airy goodness
Like a cloud; like an empty mind, ready to absorb the day, ready to absorb the spicy and tangy sambar soup, and the cool and and tropical coconut chutney.

And with thy lightfulness, delightfulness,
also comes the Vada.
Oh ye Vada, ye savory doughnut of delight,
Fried gently, lovingly, so that your outside is crisp and your inside is light and cake-like,
Also ready to be combined with the twin condiments of sambar and chutney,

Idly and Vada, sambar and chutney-
Thy formest a heavenly mixture that is eaten with one’s fingers
There is no silverware to intercede; no fork or spoon to separate the sensation.
Fingers are used to mix, and scoop, so that it becomes an experience of all the senses.
Why deprive the fingers, the skin, the sense of touch of the goodness?
This breakfast is made to be relished by all the senses, for there is plenty of bliss to go around.

And then, of course, the masterpiece, the grand and glorious Dosa, the sourdough wonder, fried thin as the border between Man and God, thin as the delicateness of a newborn butterfly, crispy and airy and utterly celestial, so light that it lifts the eater into Heaven itself, into a world of ecstasy.

Finally, the coffee, brewed fresh and strong, premixed with milk and sugar in perfect balance, and served in a cup inside a bowl, so that you can pour it yourself, from cup to bowl and back to cup, mixing it, aerating it, lightening it, cooling it, until it is ready to be savored.

Each day, I am graced with your goodness, O South Indian Breakfast, and with a beginning like that, how can the day fail to unite me with my God, remind me of my Love, and bring out the best in me and all humankind?


No comments: