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    INDIAN FOOD SYSTEM (More precisely, South Indian but more or less applicable
    to all Indian meal systems) The following are rough translations of the
    words of Kanchi Paramacharya extracted from the Tamil publication titled
    Sollin Selvar (The Expert of Words), Sri Kanchi Munivar by Sri Ra.
    Ganapathy. The different Indian delicacies are explained as follows.

    SADAM: Cooked rice, the main dish of a South Indian meal is called sAdam.
    That which has sat is sadam, in the same way we call those who are full of
    sat, sadhus. We can give another explanation for the term: that which is
    born out of prasannam is prasAdam. What we offer to Swami (God) as nivedanam
    is given back to us as parasAdam. Since we should not add the root 'pra' to
    the rice we cook for ourselves, we call it sAdam.

    RASAM: Rasam means juice, which is also the name of filtered ruchi. We say
    'it was full of rasa' when a speech or song was tasteful. If something is an
    extraction of juice, then would it not be clear, diluted and free of
    sediments? Such is the nature of our rasam, which is clear and dilute. The
    other one, served earlier to rasam in a meal, is the kuzhambu. Kuzhambu
    contains dissolved tamarind and cut vegetable pieces, so it looks unclear,
    its ingredients not easily seen.

    BUTTERMILK: A western meal normally ends with a dessert. In a South Indian
    meal, desserts such as pAyasam are served after the rasam sAdam. Any sweets
    that were served at the beginning are also taken at this time. After that we
    take buttermilk rice as our final course. Paramacharya explains that since
    sweets are harmful to teeth, our sour and salty buttermilk actually
    strengthens our teeth, and this has been observed and praised by an American
    dietician. We gargle warm salt water when we get toothache. The buttermilk
    is the reason for our having strong teeth until the end of our life, unlike
    the westerners who resort to dentures quite early in their life.

     UPPUMA: If the term uppuma is derived from the fact that we add uppu or
    salt, then we also add salt to iddly, dosa and pongal! Actually, it is not
    uppuma but ubbuma! The rava used for this dish expands in size to the full
    vessel where heated up with water and salt. The action of rava getting
    expanded is the reason for the term ubbuma. 

    PAYASAM: payas (in Sanskrit) means milk. So pAyasam literally means 'a
    delicacy made of milk'. This term does not refer to the rice and jaggery
    used to make pAyasam. They go with the term without saying. Actually pAyasam
    is to be made by boiling rice in milk (not water) and adding jaggery. These
    days we have dhal pAyasam, ravA pAyasam, sEmia pAyasam and so on, using
    other things in the place of rice. Vaishanavas have a beautiful Tamil term
    akkaara adisil for pAyasam. The 'akkaar' in this term is a corruption of the
    Sanskrit sharkara. The English term 'sugar' is from the Arabian 'sukkar',
    which in turn is from this Sanskrit term. The same term also took the forms
    'saccharine' and 'jaggery'. And the name of the dish jangiri is from the
    term jaggery.

    TAMBULAM: It is customary to have tAmbUlam at the end of a South Indian
    dinner. In the North, tAambUlam is popularly known as paan, which is usually
    a wrap of betel nut and other allied items in a calcium-laced pair of betel
    leaves. In the South, tAmbUlam is usually an elaborate and leisurely
    after-dinner activity. People sit around a plate of tAmbUlam items, drop a
    few cut or sliced betel nut pieces in their month, take the betel leaves one
    by one leisurely, draw a daub of pasty calcium on their back and then stuff
    them in their mouth, chatting happily all the while. The betel leaf is known
    by the name vetrilai in Tamil, literally an empty leaf. Paramacharya once
    asked the people sitting around him the reason for calling it an empty leaf.
    When none could give the answer, he said that the usually edible plants
    don't just stop with leaf; they proceed to blossom, and bear fruits or
    vegetables. Even in the case of spinach or lettuce, we have to cook them
    before we can take them. Only in the case of the betel leaf, we take it raw,
    and this plant just stops with its leaves, hence the name vetrilai or empty


  • #2
    Re: INDIAN FOOD SYSTEM- Periyavaa

    Only Maha Peeriavaa can explain things in such a way ,easy to understand after a thorough analysis.
    Can we ever have another Maha Purush like him?


    • #3
      Re: INDIAN FOOD SYSTEM- Periyavaa

      Only Maha Peeriavaa can explain things in such a way ,easy to understand after a thorough analysis.
      Can we ever have another Maha Purush like him?