And so I am back after a long hiatus – here is a litany of excuses for my absence (alas, noticed only by family and friends!) : too much work at the day job; unforeseen socialising with people who live south of the river; son’s extra curricular activities up-scaling to crazy heights; friends visiting from India; and finally my mother’s annual winter migration to the motherland dumping me with all the cooking duties.
Of course, a week before she left, the son sternly handed her a list of food that she absolutely had to make for him before her departure – strangely enough they all turned out to be Marathi snacks, Pohe being one of them.
Maharashtrians pride themselves on being cultural, intellectual, and great at batting (ok, this bit is made up but I give you Vengsarkar, Tendulkar, Dravid and (very reluctantly) Gavaskar). However, sometimes it does feel like the rest of India acknowledges us more for our food than our intellectual and cultural capabilities – probably leading us to be very highly critical of cultural icons in a bid to get noticed.
For example, we are the ones who will disappear for chai when a certain Indian classical music singer comes on stage as her voice is too shrill for our cultured ears; we are also the ones who think we should answer when singers rhetorically “ask for permission” to sing their favourite pieces (“why not”, said the Marathi man when the famous Kishori Amonkar asked if she could regale us with her favourite piece. “For once you are consistently singing well, so go for it”, he added); and when Tendulkar batted well for India we made sure everyone knew that his dad was a good, sometimes OK, Marathi novelist.
Coming somewhat circuitously back to the point, I always think it’s our food that makes us stand out in the country though – so here is a recipe for a dish that is quintessentially Maharastrian: Pohe!