Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eat, Eat, Eat

Forget the pray and love. The food in Southern India in Kerala is a refreshing change from the heavily spiced, gravy-covered dishes of Rajasthan. I stayed at the Varkala Marine Palace on Varkala Beach and didn't miss a meal.

For me, it's all about the coconuts. A favorite food since I was a little girl, I've managed to eat it nearly three times a day here. In one week I've consumed: fresh coconut juice and coconut meat (hacked up by a strong Keralan woman with her machete), warm coconut pudding, coconut laden vegetables dishes, coconut curries, museli and coconut, and pina coladas with generous jiggers of rum. I've even watched them drying coconut on the beach to turn into oil. It's far more interesting than watching paint dry.

Keralans eat coconut in all forms by the tons. During a ride into town a billboard featured a giant coconut and read: One Nation, One Drink. Brought to you by the Coconut Development Board of India.

In between eating the perfect white fruit, I've noshed on little dumplings from the Tibetan restaurant; thin crust mushroom pizza that easily rivals my favorite in Seattle; lots of fresh seafood including blue marlin, butter fish, giant prawns and seafood fried rice; fresh watermelon, mango, and pineapple juice; the most delicious cucumber raita (with yoghurt sauce); and a thin puffy fried bread filled with cheese that tastes like the most divine grilled Velveeta cheese sandwich only the cheese is white.

The only things I haven't been crazy about were "fresh" croissants that turned out to be stale affairs full of ants, and a few items on the menu that didn't sound very appetizing, like Nutela Banana Craps. I assume they meant crepes.

It's been one year and three return trips to India since I've written, but I feel inspired here (and obviously hungry) and like I'm back in the saddle again. Come back and visit me. Barring spotty internet connections, I'll be here.

As for the pray thing, I did go to Sivananda ashram. Lots of yoga, meditation and "adequate" food. It's better for mental clarity...

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