{Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam}

Whether it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian food,all food commodities were divided into two broad categories,hot and cold.The whole of Tamil cuisine is still largely based on this classification which also influenced indigenous medicinal practices:Illnesses were classified as hot and cold and the diet therapy was based on treating with cold food those caused by heat and with hot food those caused by cold.This belief still persists.Chicken pox,for example,is believed to be a manifestation of body heat and the foods permitted are those that are supposed to counter this heat-fruit,butter milk and tender coconut.Also Every festival and ceremony has a traditional menu.The first rice meal given to a baby in the seventh month is sarkarai pongal,a combination of rice-milk,sugar and ghee.The teething of a child calls for pal koshukattai (tiny rice flakes resembling teeth, cooked in milk with sugar).The coming of age of a daughter is an important family event, as it is in all traditional communities. A kind of pasty pottage made with urad dal[ulutham kali/Black gram porridge] & gingelly oil are the main part of the food. Ulutham kali is usually made with black urad dal with skin as it is supposed to be more health and this used to give to the teen age girls,at the time of puberty to make the bones
strong.Valaikappu[Bangle Ceremony] or Seemandam,celebrated in the seventh or ninth month of pregnancy to bless a pregnant woman,calls for a variety of rice preparations such as Puli Sadham[Puliyodharai or Tamarind Rice] , sakkarai pongal[Sweet Rice dish],ven pongal[Rice and Lentil Pudding].

Change in food habits is slow in coming to Tamil lands,but some signs of it can be seen.Wheat is being increasingly used in urban areas. Chappathi (wheat flour pancake) may be substituted for rice,especially for dinner,and poori (a deep-fried wheat pancake) and potato be served as breakfast.Modernization is also slowly bringing changes to the culinary scene.Compromises and adaptations are being made. Traditional receipes that call for elaborate and leisurely cooking are disappearing.Processed foods such as ready-made idli-mix and pre-packed curry powders have invaded urban kitchens.Mechanical aids such as motorized idli-grinders are also being used in traditional cooking.The break-up of the joint family and the increase in the number of career women have inevitably changes some Tamil Eating habits.A movement towards a simpler cuisine can be sensed.All the same,Tamil food practices and their cultural implications still retain their basic character.Some of the recipes that were in use in the st century AD are still being followed today, pretty much unchanged.
Since the last common ancestor shared by modern humans,chimpanzees and bonobos,the lineage leading to Homo sapiens has undergone a substantial change in food habits.In this article,we try to review the evolutionary changes that occurred in the food habit of human beings, mainly on dravidian ancestors & how it shaped up the food habits of the present Dravidians,particularly Tamils.As we have already explained in detail in our last article,"Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?]",published in 82 parts in, Sumerians of Mesopotamia, Indus valley people of Harappa,Mohenjo-Daro.Sangam people of South India,Medieval period people of south India are all found linked with the shaping up of present Dravidians/Tamils as we seen today.Hence we will present this article in serials covering all these periods starting from the first Human.The Tamil movie song from "Maya Bajar",which describe the present day tamilians six taste wedding feasts,is given below as a conclusion of this introduction:

"kalyaaNa samaiyal saadham kaai kaRikaLum pramaadham andha
kowravaprasaadham idhuvE enakkup pOdhum

andhaara pajji angE sundhaara sojji ingE
sandhOsha meeRip ponga  idhuvE enakkuth thinga

puLiyOdharaiyin sORu veku poruththamaai saampaaru
poori kizhangu paaru idhuvE enakku jOru

jOraana sEni lattu suvaiyaana seeni puttu
EraaLamaana thattu ini ishtam pOla vettu"

"கல்யாண சமையல் சாதம் காய் கறிகளும் ப்ரமாதம் அந்த
கௌரவப்ரசாதம் இதுவே எனக்குப் போதும்

அந்தார பஜ்ஜி அங்கே சுந்தார சொஜ்ஜி இங்கே
சந்தோஷ மீறிப் பொங்க  இதுவே எனக்குத் திங்க

                                            புளியோதரையின் சோறு வெகு பொருத்தமாய் சாம்பாரு
                                                   பூரி கிழங்கு பாரு இதுவே எனக்கு ஜோரு

                                              ஜோரான சேனி லட்டு சுவையான சீனி புட்டு
                                                 ஏராளமான தட்டு இனி இஷ்டம் போல வெட்டு"
[Movie:MAYA BAJAR 1957-Songs about Wedding Feast]

பகுதி/PART :03 தொடரும்/WILL FOLLOW


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