We konkanis love our milk in all its varied forms; milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, ghee, butter, in whichever way we can have it. I have tried to research the reason to it, maybe because previously each house had its own herd of cows or maybe not. I am not too sure of the reason.
To start the day we especially Mangaloreans have a big tumbler of tea which is then poured into a smaller glass and taken along with breakfast. I often ask my husband as to how they can have so much and then eat too. For which I am given the answer that the beverage is used to push the food and let it settle in the tummy. Humphf, husbands I tell you!!
So when I got married and came into this typical GSB family, it was a shock…to them. Having seen such practices in my parents families, I knew what was the actual practice. But they were shocked,’ What only 1 … single cup of tea that too at the end of the breakfast!!’ Konkanis eat with the pot of tea and the glass beside them and they keep on drinking and eat simultaneously. I just smiled and went on gobbling the delicious food.
And we have different dosas and idlis too. Cucumber dosa, watermelon dosa, milk idlis curd idlis etc. The griddle for the dosas is smeared with ghee and they are eaten with ahem… not with chutney no sir, they are eaten with dollops of butter. Not the Amul or packaged butter, not at all, but the freshly churned butter. A person in the family is specifically designated to churn butter early in the morning. And so when I say no, eyebrows are raised…in shock. How can one not eat butter And a person even asked me why am I obese when I don’t eat butter or ghee. Now that is one question which I will like an answer to.
We konkanis just have to have buttermilk with their lunch and milk in the night. If one is having cold or fever then he has to take milk with his midday lunch whether he likes it or not. Me, I hate having milk. In my hostel days I blissfully escaped it. My mother used to pack off bottles of horlicks in the hope that maybe I will have it in water and somehow supplement my nutrition needs. And i happily used to distribute it to my hostel mates. Sigh the good old days. But there is no escape now. My beloved sweet endocrinologist tells me that I must have milk so as not to have calcium deficiency. Sigh. And so the hubby sees to it that I drink a BIG cup of milk every day. Sigh again. But then its me that heats it up and so I dilute it to my heart’s content. 😀 Where there is a will there is a way.
As I said before in our households, if we cannot take buttermilk, we have to have milk with the midday meal. If you say no, you will get to hear ‘ ooshna jaata’. I do not know how to translate it but it roughly means ‘body heat will escalate’.
A new mother is not given yoghurt/ buttermilk either because as she is breast-feeding, the baby may get a cold. I endured it for 2 months and in the 3rd month I said no. My mother thought better to give me than to argue. And then I came down to Mangalore. On the third day I told my sister-in-law that I just cannot have milk and then she gave me buttermilk in secrecy. Why in secrecy?? So as not to shock her mother (my mil). It so happened that during that time, it was my grandmother’s death anniversary. After the rites we sat down to eat but the one serving buttermilk just ignored me. Until I demanded a glass. ‘But you are a ‘balanti’ (a New mother). Yes, I said but I do drink Taak ( buttermilk) There was pindrop silence in the room for the remainder of the meal.And just the next day my mil caught me having Taak. ‘How can you?, ‘Wait, if something happens to my grandson….’ Nothing will happen, I said, I have been having it since he was 2 months old I said. There was silence then and I was relieved that from then on I could relish my Taak in public.