Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And Speaking of Bourdain...

Last August’s issue of Writer’s Block, our college magazine, carried a survey where we asked people (among other things) to furnish a wishlist for our hostel mess menu. The ensuing article had the following controversial section:
Some clamoured for Idli and other unpronounceable South Indian dishes, while one respondent suggested Dalma, which is apparently an Oriya delicacy. However Shekhar Sumit (a.k.a. The Quaker), an authentic Oriya, informs us that Dalma is in fact “worse than brinjal”.
Oriyas of all ages were up in arms at this slight against their regional dish, and the Quaker was widely denounced as a traitor and a disgrace to Oriyahood. Since then, I have nursed a desire to taste Dalma and form my own opinion of it. At Bhubaneswar, I was told that the midday prasad at the temple of Ananta Vasudeva was my best bet if I wanted authentic Dalma. For the nominal price of thirty rupees, look what they served!

And this was just the first helping. The meal included three kinds of sabzi, two kinds of dal, rice, pickle, curd, chutney, payesh, sweets, and of course: the legendary Dalma. Unlimited quantities of everything. The only downside was that I had to eat this spread at high noon, in a temple compound with a stone floor and no cooling system. I was sitting on the floor and bending over the food, and the sweat kept dripping off my nose and making plopmarks in the gravy.

But it was worth it. I can finally say that I have tasted Dalma, and I am in a position to pronounce that it is Not Bad At All. But for the record (I hope you’re reading this Quaker), I also like brinjal.

9 comments:

Rahul Saha said...

Brinjal is damn good. Quaker is obviously crazy.

Sarbajeet said...

Oriyas of all ages were up in arms at this slight against their regional dish...and Quaker made a sudden sharp movement and fled!

Pratiti said...

Fine fine, how many blog posts for re-instation in blog roll? I will battle with this darn connection and still do it!

Pratiti said...

I like begun bhaja, and begun pora. But begun in torkari IS revolting.

Rick said...

The spread looks delicious!

Begun, as a food...(darn! all brinjal lovers here!) is not bad, yeah.

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

temple spreads ought to occupy an entire section in the study of food. even simple kheer-puri tastes unbelievable :)

Indecision Personified! said...

OMG! Did not know that there existed so many brinjal lovers. The only kind I find tolerable and somewhat like is what they used to serve at our mess for Saraswati Puja... and later on the fried variety with the Khicheree... and I agree with Doubletake about Temple food. This spread looks a lot like the south indian variety of temple look. Reminds me to try some when I go down south this summer.

btw: Blogpost coming up within one or two days - so watch my blog for more! :) (This is not so that I get reinstated in your blogroll - just that I found something to blog about) :)

Indecision Personified! said...

*This spread looks a lot like The South Indian variety of temple food.

new age scheherazade said...

pujor khichuri is delicious, whereas normal khichuri is only bearable with begun bhaja.
I feel like that comment adds a lot to the discussion.