Mi, I often wonder what is the one thing I can’t live without, when it comes to food. Predictably, the not so unusual answer that consistently comes to mind is curd. Truly, food for the soul. Besides the fact that I grew up with the dear old “thairinjaam” or curd rice, it has always stood me in good stead. (Can you believe there’s a Wikipedia page for curd rice?)

When I carried it in my lunch box to school, my classmates loved it.

When I carried it in my lunch box to work, my colleagues loved it.

Why, when I traveled for sales seminars, sales trips and conferences, I always faithfully stuck to curd rice and my other love, salad, to stay safe.

I remember, one of the best curd rice places, not counting home, used to be that Daspalla hotel in Vizag. I used to start the day with it. Nicely embellished with pomegranate seeds, coriander leaves, curry leaves, and garnished with pieces of cucumber, grated carrot and mustard seeds, it was a feast. During those trips, I could eat it twice a day – for breakfast and dinner. I would manage lunch with a fruit and juice. No wonder I stayed healthy!

And? The Daddojanam prasadam at the Tadbund Hanuman temple? Bliss!

Ah, how fondly I recall those summer months when I finished sales calls early in the morning and passed through our place to change and go to the office to catch up on paper work and phone calls and reports! You would be waiting for me, the door ajar, sitting at our cute round cane dining table and reading. On the table, would be a large glass bowl of curd rice and another glass bowl of veg curry. One I particularly remember is beetroot – how gorgeous the color would look, welcoming me home as I opened the door!. And of course, beans. I love both with curd rice. Add your fantastic narthanga pickle, or mor molaga. Stairway to heaven!

I would set out again, soul smiling, tummy happy and refreshed, to the office after you extracted a promise from me to return home early. I mostly kept it, too! Can you believe I still remember our phone number? So funny.

Now, let’s look at what would be your food for the soul? More than one thing, but how can I forget your love for oranges? I wish you could have tasted the tangerines we ate in Toronto. Vidur loved them. They were so sweet. We wished we could carry some back.

Just look at them:

Food for the soul

Once peeled, they fit into my hand!

Food for the soul Mi

Uncharacteristically, I ate several and thought of you with each bite. T and I recalled how the three of us would laze away some summer Saturday afternoons working on a little tub of oranges between us. At the end of a couple of hours, all that would be left was peels, which we would then proceed to squeeze on our skin to keep the mosquitoes away. I enjoyed eating the peels more than the actual fruit.

Today, my favorite food for the soul is memories of you, sharing them with Vidur and going down memory lane with T.

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