As an ancient philosopher from AP [kanfusiyya S.] said, food is one of the few renewable pleasures of life. [The others being watching missamma for n+1’th time, etc …]
When this nation celebrates the food-fest aka Thanksgiving day with Turkey, pumpkin pie, candied yams, cranberry sauce, green beans, etc., I can’t help think of a thanks giving dinner of my own.
Obviously, this Telugu food fest must fall on Sankranti. This is as close to a food fest as we can get. The crops just would have come home and the villagers would be relaxing, counting the blessings of the land.
I would start my dinner with good khsheeraannam, with mudda pappu. It may look like a dessert, but we eat it before anything else. In fact, it symbolizes the beginning of an auspicious meal.
Next comes pulihOra with gOngoora paccaDi. Yes, we do eat it with gOngoora pacchaDi in Guntur district. This pulihora must have green chillis, soaked in tamarind sauce for hours, so that even the non-spicy-food eaters will be tempted to taste them.
Next comes, of course, white rice, made from Nellore molagolukulu, no less. Not the pansy-wansy basmati rice to spoil the taste of pure andhra kooralu. Rice, in its purest form, must not contain those spices. These pulaos don’t give our kooralu a suitable base.
Next, four kooralu come in a koora gutti. One of them must be vankaaya koora (brinjal koora). Infinite diversity exists in this koora, but I am partial to my mother’s preparation made with fresh yoghurt and tender vankaayalu. I also like gutti vankaaya koora, the making of which is an art, mastered only in the households of konaseema, as most of the readers will attest.
The next koora, by popular consent, must be poTla kaaya paalu pOsina koora. For all the poor folks who forgot how it looks and tastes like, I can only say this: Too Bad!!
Next, by the way of kaarams, we must bring in kaakara kaaya vEpuDu. No where in the world they tamed this bitter character to produce such a tasty dish. Just enough bitterness to balance the hot taste of Guntur red chilli powder, and a hint of anakaapalli bellam, what do you say?
Since this is a festival, we will go all out and demand the very best! Yes, I mean, panasapoTTu koora, that food of Gods!! Green jack fruit, cut into small pieces, steamed and cooked to perfection, this is magic, not cooking!!
After completing these four kooralu with fresh neyyi, we can turn to the liquids of the day. Not the generic sambar and rasam!! We start with dappaLam, [with aanapa kaaya] and proceed onto pappu chaaru. By the side, some biyyapu vaDiyaalu should elivate eating to a gastronomic experience.
To finish of the meal, fresh yoghurt, [maahishancha Saraschandra chandrikaa dhavaLam dadhi] and nimma majjiga with ginger and green chillis and curry leaves. Do you want to eat anything more? We have ariselu, paalataaluku for the interested.
There you go. That is my idea of a thanks giving dinner on a cool afternoon in Sowpadu. You are all welcome to join me, but RSVP asap!!
— rama E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometime in 1993.