FOOD HABITS OF TAMILs/PART 19

[Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
[Food Habits of Ancient Sangam Tamils-continuing]
Fish market-Sri Lanka
When one thinks of seafoods,coastal cities such as Jaffna & Kerala comes to the mind,Still,the mix of fishing culture — the Jaffna city survives as a major fishing port today —has created the perfect storm for seafood.International travel website Go Backpacking put Sri Lanka as #1 on its “5 Countries for Seafood Lovers” guide, above seafood powerhouses such as Chile and Japan[January 2, 2013 By Mark Wiens] — and especially
called out Jaffna for its great seafood.“Surrounded by sea, you bet [it] catches some high-quality creatures,” the article stated.according to Sri Lankan tourism website yamu.lk. Specialties there include local crab,which can be turned into traditional crab curry.While Purananuru 399 mentioned about fried murrel fish & fatty meat pieces of shark,Sirupanatruppadai,line,193-195 mentioned about crab curry with rice.Both of these ancient Tamil poems given below.


Man Offering a Drink to his Partner
,Alampur,Andhra Pradesh]
"We were on our way to see Killi Valavan of unending great
fame, the lord of the Kāviri River,
where fields are filled with water, and farm workers working
among haystacks happily drink, relax and eat old rice,
along with rice brought by a female cook without measuring,
that was pounded with a large pestle with a ring, its husks
removed, looking like the mature buds of pāthiri flowers that
had just opened, and cooked in a bright pot with fermented gruel,
with vallai leaves from fields, fatty big pieces of horned
fish, large pieces of vāral fish, and sour fragrant pulp of mango
fruits growing on tall branches that provide shade."[Purananuru 399,lines,1-14]

"will serve cooked white rice balls,
from rice finely pounded with an iron
pestle whose ends have been blunted,
served with split-legged crabs,"[Sirupanatruppadai,line,193-195]

Also from Malaipadukadam,We come to know,not only the hospitality of the mountain kuravars,the people of foothills,But also Drinks & food enjoyed by the guest from morning to evening,by.lines 170 – 185.


Drinking in Ancient Karnataka /Women gossiping over a bowl of alcohol]
"Along with food that they bring climbing mountains,
they will give you sweet liquor aged in bamboo pipes
which you can drink without limits, and for your
hangover to go, in the morning, they will serve you
scattered seeds of fruits brought down by waterfalls,
big pieces of meat of bison killed ruining arrows,
chopped up pieces of fatty meat of porcupines mixed
with fuzzy-topped, sweet tamarind and buttermilk,
seeds growing on bamboo added to the boiling liquid,
and white rice cooked by a mountain woman wearing
flowers on her huge hair knot, their fragrances spreading
all over the mountains with surapunnai trees.  They,
along with their children, will be greatly hospitable
in all the houses, and prevent you from leaving."

Finally ,We come to know from Kalithokai 65,the tradition of Chewing the mixture of areca nut and betel leaf is very old & practice even in sangam period,700 BC-300 AD.In both India and Sri Lanka, it was a custom of the royalty to chew areca nut with betel leaf. Kings had special attendants whose duty it was to carry a box with all the necessary ingredients for a good chewing session.There was also a custom for lovers to chew areca nut and betel leaf together.Not only that  Betel leaves (Thamboolam,) is usually exchanged whenever marriages are finalised, when guests leave after their stay, while inviting for the weddings and while offerings are made to the Deities.and To the visitors it is offered as a mark of courtesy. 

[Ancient Khmer carving showing trays  of food and drink being carried to a banquet]  
"that lame old Brahmin, the one you warned
me about, showed up, spotted me, bowed to me and
asked, “Why are you here at this unsightly hour?”
Slowly, he stuck to my side like an old buffalo that
had sighted hay.
“Lady, will you eat my betel leaves and betel nuts?”
he asked me as he opened his pouch, and said again,
“Take these,” as he tried to hand then to me.
I was speechless.  He spoke without restraint, and said
“Girl, you have fallen into my hands! if you are one spirit,
I am the other spirit.  You better be gracious to me."

PART :20 WILL FOLLOW                                                                            

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