I seem to have unconsciously turned into a foodie since I don’t remember from when. Any advertisement of an ongoing Food Festival catches my keen eye, perhaps more than screaming headlines on the latest corruption cases coming under the CBI !I always longed to visit Orissa, especially the Puri Jaganath Temple in Bhuvaneshwar and taste food belonging to this part of the country. Therefore I decided not to miss the recent Jaganath Puri Food Festival at BR Mathsya where Master cooks from the biggest temple kitchen in India with recipes over 2000 years old had come down to give Chennaites an opportunity to have a taste of their culinary prowess.
Though it was a week day, there was a milling crowd and some of us were asked to wait till the tables were available. Meanwhile my husband and I chose to run through the menu displayed at the entrance and also glance through the spread.Though most of the names written on the placards appeared unfamiliar, so did the variety of dishes displayed I chose to opt for the buffet and my husband a regular South Indian thali.
To be fair to the ‘rich fare’, the only items that warranted a compliment were the hot alu tikkis, green and white puris, okra in sweet and sour gravy and crisp bitter gourd masala chips. When I noticed people queueing at the dessert section my hopes ran high in expectation of tasting something exclusive to the State. I soon helped myself to a sweet which resembled our own Badusha, another one which looked like a vegetable cutlet and the inevitable kheer and icecream which I found preserved their original appearance!
I realized how appearances can indeed be deceptive , because the badusha was more than fit to compete with granite and come out triumphant in the race.(Probably people 2000 years ago had teeth as hard as stones) and the cutlet looking sweet was insipid to put it mildly. My husband’s tongue in cheek comment when he noticed my plight made me feel worse as who was wiser between the two of us!
n.meera raghavendra rao