26 December 2016
A week in Tampa comes with it so many joyful moments, all of which to be thankful for, all singularly significant. While my visits are never often enough, when I do come, aside from my family, it’s about the food. Currently, I sit in my folks’ lanai, enjoying a cool breeze under a warm late morning sun. It’s a healthy 80 degrees.
My dad is happily focused upon work in the garden. I am literally dominated by the colour green. Banana leaves lazily flutter in the wind, mimicking my easy mood. Birds chirp high up in the trees that squirrels quickly climb. My favourite — curry leaf plants — grow before my very eyes, a small two foot plant that stands on my balcony outside San Francisco instead stands over seven feet tall in my dad’s garden outside Tampa, joined by his other curry leaf plants. In his heaven, my father is endlessly working the soil providing the bounty to my mother’s cooking.
My mom is happily preparing masala dosa for me, served with a coconut chutney. The smell of coconut oil with mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger and garlic dominate the outside air. Their neighbors love her. I am jealous of her neighbors. My nose is literally in heaven, while my mom expertly navigates between dishes on the outdoor stovetop. In her heaven, my mother is cooking for all of her children and other loved ones using the bounty my dad has picked.
Neither realize it, but they both invented “farm-to-table” before it was even a thing that could be invented. They’re a team if I ever saw one.
Masala dosa is an Indian rice crepe folded in half, with potatoes cooked in Indian spices, inside it. The coconut chutney contains (along with the main ingredient) ginger, curry leaves, chili powder, dried chili peppers, and mustard seeds. My idea of heaven most decidedly consists of my father’s bounty and my mother cooking that bounty.
While I am sad my sister’s family has gone this morning for their next stop on their holiday travels, I am excitedly waiting for my lunch. At least, I got to give them one last hug, before watching them disappear into the airport crowd.
It’s now early afternoon the day after Christmas, and the entire neighborhood smells like Kerala fish curry, kingfish that was freshly caught and now prepared. It doesn’t surprise me one bit everyone comes over on a regular basis to Mama & Papa Puvathingal’s house for dinner.
During my stay here, they are most certainly jealous of me.
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GO ADVENTURE.GO TRAVEL.GO LIVE.
ALWAYS BE EPIC.