Summer spells vatthal & vadagam

When I was a primary school girl, summer was all about making homemade vatthal and vadagam and I was a Chowkidar. Now don’t you say I’m endorsing BJP. Yes, I was a watchwoman to safeguard the crisps from crows.

It used to be a tradition in majority of the houses – the onset of summer is synonymous with vatthals and of course, pickles. It is that time of the year when tender mangoes, aka, vadu mangas in local parley, becomes the queen of the market. No matter howmuchever corporate brands launch new products, the regional signature fryums are something that can never come on par.

To go back in time, I lived in an independent house with my two aunts, so all three families used to pull up by their bootstraps to make the crispy vadagam batter with leftover rice, chillies and other ingredients.

When the palm-sized fryums are spread on a cloth and are all-ready to dry it under sun, comes my duty. Being everyone’s favourite child earned me the arduous task of sitting alone in the terrace with sun sizzling, but hey, I did not regret, for I got to taste the varieties of crisps.

After few years, we moved to apartments and I do not get to see many households engaging in making them anymore. We all have shifted to instant recipes, right from even making vatthals to lunch recipes.

No longer do I see terrace lined with fryums for drying under hot sun. The colorful vadagam occupy the prime spot in supermarkets. While it has eased our work and tastes well, the additives are something that causes a range of problems.

In the past few decades, there has been several cases of adulteration done in food products coming to light. The infamous popular noodle brand is one to name.

While it may not present with serious issues in the near future, the magnanimity of the problem could be manifested in several ways when we grow old.

The companies that are into making profits, utilise artificially-made fruit salt or lemon salt that are used in place of lemon. To attract kids, the bulk vendors who are into mass-production use colours made of chemicals, although it does not pose a big problem, when used in excess certainly causes allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness.

Bhavani Prabhakar