Of Food, Fondness, and Forgetting


Of Food, Fondness, and Forgetting

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar/ Arré


week ago, my grandmother said she was craving homemade appams and stew. I have an image of appams in my head which comes from all the times that I’ve eaten appams in restaurants, where the sides are thinner than it seems possible for a human being to make. But when my grandmother asked for appams, my aunt M, who has taken over the cooking in our house ever since varicose veins and dementia took over my grandmother’s life, suddenly realised in a moment of panic that she didn’t know how. She could manage the stew, she said, but even though she has learnt to make those other Mangalore staples like kori gassi, kori ajadina, and pepper mutton, she never learnt how to get the appam batter right.

So here we were: My aunt not knowing how to achieve appam bliss and my grandmother not being able to remember. Relatively speaking, this isn’t a big problem. I mean relative to the madness in this world, this was a small change. Also M googled “how to make appams” and all was fine with the world, but as I put out the appams on the table, M said softly that she wished she had asked my grandmother how to make all the things that she used to.