Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chronicles of a lone blogger - 2

The Kannadigas' contribution to food is praiseworthy. Right from the Udipi restaurants to the Bangalore Iyengar bakeries - they have been filling my appetite and also clogging my arteries! The Bangalore Iyengar bakery has a history behind it. When Swami Ramanuja migrated to Melkote in Karnataka (where the famous Tirunarayanapuram temple stands), he was accompanied by some Sri vaishanavas. Some of these people migrated to Hassan district in Karnataka. It is told that the Bangalore Iyengar bakery originated from here and spread to every corner in Tamil Nadu. Now who gives a damn about from where it originated, they make some of mouth watering pasteries in town. They offer interesting varieties ranging from butter biscuits, honey cakes, plain sweet cream pastries, dilpasand, dilkush, to my favourite fresh buttery hot spicy mouth watering vegetable puffs (the final nail on my coffin!), spicy vegetable buns and the famous "kick ur a**" kind of toast where the stuffing is made of fried onions, tomatoes, green chillies, chilli powder and turmeric powder. A gourmet's delight! Muthu and I still preferred having a vegetable puff, the mandatory onion/cashewnut pakodas and the aromatic cardamom tea served in small plastic cups.

For a person who was accustomed to eating food for taste rather than filling the stomach, the RECT mess was a big mess! Apart from the morning breakfasts with the famous bread toast and onion fry - I rarely ate lunch and dinner! There were times - where I used to travel 30 kms to Trichy just to have lunch in a restaurant! So choosy! I can never survive on thayir saadhams since I guess I am the only person in Tamil Nadu or perhaps India who hates curd!

Thus my customary trip to the Tiruvanaikaval temple was not only to fill my inner koshas with divine vibrations but also to fill my starved stomach with some proper tasty food. So our mandatory trip to the Bangalore Iyengar bakery was just a starter! This is just a word of caution - so that you assume there is still more to come!

The Kavery river is one of the most important and sacred rivers of India. Kavery originates from a a famous pligrimage spot called the Thalai Kavery which is set amidst Bramahagiri Hills in the district of Karnataka. The Kavery is considered to be the Ganges of the south and is also called as the Dhakshina Ganga. The river forms three islands namely Srirangapatnam and Shivanasamudram in Karnataka and Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. These three islands are famous for their temples of Lord Vishnu in a reclining posture on the seven-headed Athisheshan. These three temples are known as 'Adi Ranga' in Srirangapatnam, 'Madya Ranga' in Shivanasamudram and 'Anthya Ranga' in Srirangam.

There are certain minute things in life that can give you happiness that is unbounded in time and space, and these things have to be experienced. An experience that is unfathomable, something that is divine, an experience that can lead one to a state of divine ecstasy.

(The journey continues...)


Blogger Jeevan said...

Your information on Bangalore Iyengar bakeries and the islands of Kavari will be veryy useful for people who are a fan of food. Very Nice Photos! is it Kavari?

26/3/06 04:49  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

welcome back to the blog world arjuna!

26/3/06 08:04  
Anonymous Shuba said...

Hey after i read about your bangalore iyengar bakery i travelled all the way to mylapore to taste few pastries...ya its good....and by the way Vasantha Bavan and Anjappar owners are in constant look out for you.....anyway your blogs have kindled interest to visit Tiruvanaikaval temple....nice posting and photograph

26/3/06 09:14  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

dear jeevan, thanks brother..Yes that is indeed the beautiful Kavery :)..

dear chakra, thanks a lot - hope ur doing good too :)..

"T rani ;)" Shuba, :P - yeah I know - how the VBs and anjappars are trying to avoid going bust because of my absence - yeah u shuld go to the temple..its beautiful..I need to talk to u - something interesting :) - will give u call sometime soon - it must be midnight there - even though I know u wuld be online :P lol

26/3/06 10:09  
Blogger Radhika said...

Your narration is very interesting and engrosses the reader. A very interesting person you are, for sure. Very glad to have you blogging again and looking forward to reading more...

26/3/06 11:50  
Blogger visithra said...

u posted this at the precise time ;))) am planning a trip there and theres like so much to see yet so little time - will email u later ;))

26/3/06 18:41  
Blogger Ganesh said...

welcome back Arjuna
eppadi irukeenga

26/3/06 19:45  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Radhika - thanks a lot :) and thanks for dropping in :)

Visithra - hey great - let me know abt ur trip :)..thanks for popping in :)

Ganesh - thanks for dropping in :) - I am fine thks and hope ur doing the same :)

26/3/06 23:29  
Blogger Parvati said...

Your description of every dish that is eatable is so lovely, I just want to rush to the pastry shop and gobble all things there.

And the rest of the post is typical Spiritual Arjuna.

Truly, your blog can be called "Food for Body and Soul"...
Weekends are most interesting with your posts.

27/3/06 01:44  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Parvati - thanks a ton :)..I am glad that I helped the bakery in ur locality :P lol..

27/3/06 08:07  
Blogger Sriram C S said...

Yet to read the post, but the picture is awesome!!! Comments on the post soon!!

27/3/06 19:28  
Blogger Viji said...

I like thenga bun and Butter biscuits. mmmmmmmm, semma taste...
I used to hate curd rice, but like it immensely now, esp with kaara urula kazhangu kari :P
Kaveri photo- very nice :)

28/3/06 00:48  
Blogger Viji said...

And palli konda perumal- saarangapani kovil, Kumbakonam. pathurkingala?

28/3/06 00:49  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Sriram - thanks for dropping in :)

Viji - Yes - I have seen - I will be writing about it in the forthcoming posts..

28/3/06 03:31  
Blogger Blogging One's Own Trinkets said...

I read a couple of your items - on temples and Iyengar bakeries. I wanted to compliment you, a youngster, for writing on such subjects that youngsters are scoffed at by elders for not taking interest in. But, then, I thought I must spend more time to congratulate you for giving the Kannadigas the pride of place. (It only strengthens my belief that we are good at eating!) Moreover, what is primary is Anna Brahma, later Para Brahma. (No, I am an agnostic, but it does not matter). I am drawing the attention of friend Vivek to your blog, because he has as his hobby visiting temples, mostly the lesser known ones.
I chanced upon your blog at a time when I am trying to bring together the Tamils and Kannadigas on the contentious issue of sharing of waters. Another friend of mine, a former registrar of the University of Mysore, did a commendable job in this regard, in his capacity as Director of Madras Institute of Development Studies, by bringing the farmers of the two states together. His effort needs to be strenghened. The least you could do is spread this word among your fellow Tamils (like the ones who have commented alongside), though I want to make no such distinctions as Tamil, Punjabi, or whatever.
I am sharing an article with you all which I wrote after eating at a Kerala friend's house. Happy reading.

God’s own cuisine

IT was a rich harvest of variety food. The plantain leaf had borne fruits of the hosts’ labour. It was a multiple hybrid yield of countless vegetables, tubers and pulses, all vying for a toe-fold. A miniature kitchen garden? No, it was a crowded battlefield. The soldiers occupying key positions. What do they know that they are going to be attacked by me? These were the mixed pictures that crossed my mind as I sat to eat my Onam dinner. The Keralite harvest festival Onam must be the only Indian festival that is celebrated by people practising diverse faith. The Christians, the Muslims and the Hindus all become one in the festive fervour that grips God's Own Country. Friend Thomas and his wife Darly had invited me for Onam. Having tasted their hospitality once before for the same occasion, I could hardly resist the temptation; l just yielded to it. None of the items, as was only to be expected, was free of coconut. Coconut tree, the kalpavriksha, has many uses. None has discovered its fullest potential the way the Mallus have – they have squeezed coconut to its last drop of milk, so to say.

There are more delicacies that they have invented and developed to perfection than there are other uses of the tree. They had all undergone a value addition at the hands of Darly. The food scientist that she is, had transformed into a consummate food artist. My taste buds seemed to be woefully under-equipped to take it all. It was rasa swada, at its peak. Like a gourmet, I should have known when to stop, but even a moderate eater like me had turned into a glutton. Not one to waste food, I knew I was going to leave the leaf in its pre-plucked state. (Not that any mortal would have chosen to let it go unpolished). I finished it all. If the feast indeed burdened me, its out-of-this world quality relieved me of my guilt of indulgence; I wanted to say 'Wow, it is God's own Cuisine', but I told the Thomas’s at the end of it that I would reserve my appreciations for a later day. For once my long-held belief that nothing to beat a South Indian Brahmin meal when it comes to taste had been eliminated. {I am an unabashed casteist when it comes to my fundamental views on vegetarian food). The Onam feast had changed it all. Until I taste something better, my newfound belief is nothing to excel an Onam meal. But, then, will I ever get to taste anything better? The soldiers in line had vanquished me completely.

(Sorry for encroaching upon your space).

8/5/06 21:48  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Dear trinkets,
Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and putting such a wonderful comment :) - I wuld like to apologize to u for the late reply as I just checked out ur comment :(. So I am very sry abt it..
That was beautifull written :)..Unfortunately I have never visited Kerala - but me being a srilankan, I can feel it :)..Kerala and SL are somewhat similar in their culture, food etc..Thanks once again for dropping in :)

15/5/06 13:01  
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