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Grandma's Rasam

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Anusha2917, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    A tribute to my beloved grandmother .

    We all share a special bond/relationship with our grandparents. When they leave us and go we realise a lot about them and miss them terribly.

    Everytime I cook rasam I am reminded of my grandma. Reason for that I'll share below in this snippet. As the rasam was boiling today ,as I mentioned I remembered my grandma and got lost in the thoughts about her until the point where the rasam's boiling reached it's finishing point and it's time to finish off by adding dhal water and give the most aromatic tadka with ghee ,mustard and asafotida. Yes that is the best part of rasam. The tadka gives it "an out of the world " taste.

    We are about 11 grandchildren to my grandma and if anyone resembles her the closest, then it's me. Yes I have her nose, her temper, her lips, her forehead,her hair,her lean figure and what not. I didn't know I have even inherited her rasam making skills. She is my paternal grandmother and I didn't have much bond with maternal grandmother as she expired the same year I was born.

    So as a kid my mother's brother (my mama) teased me with a nickname "japa".
    Ja signified first letter of my grandma's name, pa representing first letter of the word grandma in my language. With my close resemblance to Japa he always teased me with special songs. As a kid I didn't enjoy that and used to cry because for me (a very young kid) to resemble an old lady was not acceptable. The more I cried the more he sang and everyone around laughed including my mom and my mom always said you are lucky to be like your grandmom. Well I was never convinced and hated her at that moment because she supported her brother always in this Japa teasing.

    But all this apart I shared a very special bond with my paati who was an ardent devotee of lord Shiva ( one more rememberence of her during recent Shivarathri) . She ate just one meal a day. No breakfast, no dinner. But that one meal was an elaborate one with rice, rasam,Sambhar ,kootu, curry, curds and one fruit. etc. Yes everyday it was an elaborate meal . She generally stayed with my dad's brother in our city but made frequent visits to our house and stayed with us until a cat fight would erupt between my mom and grandma and she used to go back to stay with her daughters in different cities. Even at 80+ age she used to divide her time between two sons and 3 daughters. She travelled all alone from one city to another, just one kit bag was her asset which had 5 6 9 yards Sarees and 2 3 white blouse in that . Yes just that. :)
    She was very very orthodox and none could touch her until she finished her Shiva Poojai and had her lunch sharp at 1pm . After that we could touch her hand . Inspite of no physical contact with her I was very close to her. Just sitting and observing what she did and asking her my endless questions made me close to her. All the elaborate cooking she did it herself with me just observing when I had no school to go.Wherever she went she cooked her food, finished her Pooja and took her lunch. I can't remember an instance where she was sick, she was admitted to hospital or she eating outside. When we went out with her she carried a bag a homemade snacks and managed to survive her day with that. I can never stop writing about her, but I'll stop here otherwise I have like million other points to write about her and can never proceed to the rasam part.

    As I mentioned she made the yummiest food but her Rasam was special and always tasted the best. My sister who is an excellent cook and much better than me came to stay with me one day and I made a simple lunch for her which consisted of rasam n aloo. She loved that Rasam and kept telling this rasam is like how paati used to make. How have you got the same taste. I smiled but never told her the secret. :tonguecrazy::tonguecrazy:
    Next day as I was proceeding towards the kitchen to start my cooking she said can you make paati's rasam again today? I said let me cook something else. But she insisted on that rasam. Well today she observed the secret which I was hiding from her and told me "now I know what is giving that taste" . Ha ha.

    My aunts (dad's sisters) who are excellent cook themselves relish this rasam I make and tell me after long time they are eating paati's rasam and say none have inherited this taste except me. Not even them. All my cousins say that.
    Wow what compliments !!
    My sister goes back and does the exact same rasam (after copying my style) and calls up and says taste is different and it didn't come like how you made like paati.

    I feel so good with this compliment now and wonder why I cried as a kid when someone said I have her nose, I have her lean body, I have her Hair etc. Today I'm super proud to have all these features of hers and feel extremely gifted to have inherited her rasam taste.

    When she expired at 85+ I was in 12th standard. I hardly cried nor even realised what death of a close one meant, but as the rasam boils everytime at home my eyes get wet remembering her and I tell her " I MISS YOU PAATI " .

    P. S Coming to IL after a break and have forgotten the sub forums. Not sure this comes under general discussion. Mods can move this snippet to appropriate forum.

    Moderators : I just realized the spelling mistake in my title and missed "n" in grandma. Please edit that as I crossed the time limit to edit the title.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
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  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom Platinum IL'ite

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    What a lovely tribute to your Paati. Grandmothers are special. And rasam is a dish that everyone makes but only a few have the magic touch.
    My grandfather’s sister was the rasam expert of the family. She would always make it in the “eechombu” (lead vessel) over everyone’s protests about it being poisonous. She was also extremely orthodox but on Sundays she relaxed her rules to make “poondu” (garlic) rasam for the rest of the family by popular demand. The memories of everyone: parents, uncles, aunts, cousins sitting on the living room while peeling mountains of garlic, watching Doordarshan and vigorously gossiping about any family member who wasn’t there to defend themselves are priceless.
     
  3. Myliltwincesses

    Myliltwincesses Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Anusha,
    I am reminded of my paternal grandma too.I miss her terribly..
    She was a great cook and her dishes were always yummy..I still remember the taste..
    I was her first Grand daughter..so extra special to her..She was very much proud about me - even my small achievement, she used to boast about it to everyone..
    I could go on writing and thanks for sharing your experience..
     
  4. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    I'm salivating just hearing the term "poondu rasam " . Thank you for your lovely feedback and your nostalgic memory of peeling garlic with everyone in the family. The gossiping part, oh man. We do miss it now.
    I'm very confused with this eeyachombu. One of my aunt used this and her rasam was next best after my grandma's. But recently she said she threw it as lead is dangerous in that. But she used it many years.
    I follow an instagram handle who sell the traditional products and see eeyachombu being sold and they claim how it's a myth that it's dangerous. The product is quite fast moving.
    But even though I am so tempted to order one for myself I have second thoughts. Don't know what is the truth here.
     
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  5. deepthyanoop

    deepthyanoop Gold IL'ite

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    This is a heartfelt tribute to your Grandma,Anusha! Stay blessed!

    I know what am I going to make for lunch today :)
     
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  6. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you for your feedback mentioning about your grandma . Yes they are the best cooks and no can can beat their taste.

    I'm just wondering if you have ever wondered how she would have felt about your lil twincesses.. How proud she would be of your battle and achievement. :hearteyes::hearteyes:
     
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  7. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you for your fb. Enjoy your rasam :grinning::grinning:
     
  8. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    A great tribute to Grandmas rasam!The writing itself moistens the taste buds!In every house we had athai or Amma or Patti who were adepts in preparing rasam in eeya chombu or vathal kuzhambu in kal satti.
    Even a great dinner hosted by the president may not be equal to this rasam in its taste.
    When the rainbow-coloured bubbles start floating on the rasam, you know it is ready to be removed from the stove. It's then time for the all-familiar collective aroma of ghee, coriander and curry leaves to tantalise your taste buds.

    There is a distinct difference in flavour when it is prepared in eiyachombu .The vessel is a traditional utensil made of tin.
    The lack of knowledge about the useful properties of the metal has led to the decline in its use. “Cans that are used to store fruits and vegetables are actually coated with tin. Even brass vessels are coated with tin to prevent food poisoning. But unfortunately people have mistaken tin for lead and this has resulted in a propoganda that eeya sombu could cause cancer.
    The tin is mostly imported from Malaysia and sold through a government quota system. The selling price of the metal is Rs.1,800-Rs.2,000 a kg.
    Eeya sombu is made of tin or Velleeyam whereas ordinary eeyam is kaareeyam or lead which is not good.

    The metal's melting point is around 200 degree Celsius. So, if you place the empty vessel on the stove, you might end up with a blob of silvery-white metal in a matter of minutes.
    Even though the utensil is gradually vanishing from kitchens in the city, the taste of rasam cooked in eiyachombu lingers in many mouths. So much so that at wedding feasts, chefs often seek to remind guests of the traditional flavour of rasam by investing in the tin utensil: no, not to cook the rasam in it but to drop the utensil into the boiling pot of rasam so that the metal lends its flavour to the dish.

    “That way, the rasam tastes as if it has been prepared in an eiyachombu,” says a caterer.
    In the same way vathal kuzhambu prepared in kal satti is very famous.It requires some time for the kal satti to get used.It has to be smeared with castor oil, then boil water with turmeric powder for three to four days and the only could be used for cooking..Many may not know that the essential ingredient of kal satti is magnesium silicate,which is the main constituent of talcum powder.During our college days we prepared talcum powder by grinding broken pieces of kal satti thrown away as garbage in a kalsatti company and marketed it by adding scents during science exhibition.

    it is interesting to note that in Tanjore palace chief cooks were appointed based on their skill to prepare cheeraka rasam in an open kulam tank of 10x10x10 ft ,boiled in sun light,without any external fire for 72 hrs.
    Dr.Rangachari of GH Madras used to have a great liking of my Athais rasam and used to come home only to taste her rasam.

    jayasala42
     
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  9. Mistt

    Mistt IL Hall of Fame

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    Welcome back @Anusha2917. Touching write up on your paati and it made me recollect those beautiful memories with my maternal grand mother. My grandma wasn't educated but she was so matured, caring. she played with us, crossed generation gap and supported our thoughts. We all cousins had visited my grand ma's house during summer holidays until I reach 8th grade. After that, all became busy with studies so I got some occasions to spent time with her. She left us a couple of years before my marriage but She lives in my memories.
     
  10. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you very much for your wonderful feedback. Very insightful points you have mentioned about eeyachombu.

    And it's interesting to read about tanjore cheeraka rasam. Cooking in the sun for 72 hrs, woowww.
    That looks like a task for me.
     
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