Teacakes, Amma and Me

April 3, 2017


A few decades ago, every family in Kerala had a favorite bakery in their area, from which they would stock their pantry for the guests and naalu mani kadi (afternoon tea). Some of them were Tea cakes, butter beans, mixture and Nan kattais.


Mum and my daughter are so similar in character. They are both patient, calm and not the best at raising their feelings. Leela Ammama and me display sharp similarity as well- Hyper, impatient and could put any kathakali artist to shame- both our feelings displaying ability were remarkable.

Like Leela Ammama, I dont let anyone cook at my place unless I am ill. I love feeding people. That applies to Amma as well when she comes to visit me. As my uncle Somarajan puts it, the joy of cooking for your parents is a god given blessing.


Mum is on forced rest when she is in Sydney. On one visit she suddenly said "Make me a tea cake- the ones you get in the local Kerala bakery 40 years ago when I was a girl". This is not the fancy red velvet cake you get, but a cake flavored with shajeera and cardamoms" .



From mom's description, I baked the cake for my mum who becomes my third child...who had the delight of a 5 year old..whose eyes shone in nostalgia...


And I??


I actually experienced the joy of a mother cooking for a daughter.

Isn't nature strange? Daughters come out of mother's womb. They both grow up. In the end Mothers become the daughters and daughters the Mothers...in a way, psychological role reversal.


The eve lunch before Leela Ammama passed away, mum made sambar. Around the table were both my grandmothers, my children , me and mum. Mum served the sambar to all. Leela Ammama looked at her and said "Kollaa di" (Good job), when I whispered to mum "Do you feel the pleasure of cooking for your mum? She nodded.



Presenting Kerala bakery goody "Tea cake"
Baked by my little girl Ammu.


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© 2017 by CRavi Photography.