If there is one question which pisses off a normally calm and cool Tambrahm Mami particularly in a weekend, that is “Innikku menu enna?” (Of course I am referring to households where the Mami still holds the fort in the kitchen and not where the kitchen duties have been outsourced). Because she knows that whatever be the answer to that question, it will be met with one standard response from the rest of the family – the Mama and the kids. Which is – Innikum athevaaa??? In Tambrahm households, apart from Narayana, Guruvayurappa the other phrase which kids are most exposed to is Innikkum athevaaa???
Mamikku thaan theriyum how difficult it is to give a satisfactory answer to the Innikku menu enna question. The answer to the question regarding the day’s menu usually comes from the Mami after solving a complex algorithmic problem in her mind which involves many variables like:
Availability of vegetables at home that day
Availability of other raw material/provisions,..
Time available that day (considering it’s a weekend and any outing plan)
Weather (Hotter the outside temperature, simpler will be the menu)
Veetula annikku ethaavathu guests undaa?
Repetitive quotient. (Menu y’day, day before y’day, same day last week,..)
What Panjangam says for that day – Any Ammavasai, Ekadasi, Pradosham,…
Any new cooking program seen on TV/Recipe video viewed on Facebook/YouTube/fwd of some new recipe received thro WhatsApp
Any recent taunts from kids. Usually the conversation will go something like this.
o Kid: “Amma, nethikku Ravi aathukku ponnenliya. Anga Aunty oru side dish kudutha paaru, romba tastyaa irunthuthu.
o Mami: Enna periya side dish panni kudutha?
o Kid: Yetho Saagu appadi yetho per sonna, aunty
o Mami: Dei, Pona vaaram Rava idlikku naan panni kuduthene unakku Saagu??? Nyabagam illiyaa???
Any recent pollappu from Mama.
o Mama: Intha aathula oru Vatha Kozhambu chaaptu romba naalachu. Naal illa, maasangal aachu!
o Mami: Enna neenga, rendu vaaram minnadi, dabba la kuduthu anupichene? Maranthaacha??
o Mama: Oh, athu Vatha Kozhambaa?? Kaara Kozhambunnu nenaichen. Enga amma Vatha Kuzhambu appadi panna maatta.
(Here imagine Background music of a Steel sombu falling in the floor and noise of thunder in the background)
(Now Mama is pushing his luck and treading dangerous territory with this comment. The scene in the house in the after math of this comment – I leave it to your imagination. Mostly Mama would be depending upon Sangeetha/Saravana Bhavan types for rest of the day)
o Mami: Unga ammavaye samachu poda chollungo!
And finally mood of the Mami that day when she woke up!!!
So it’s but natural that Mamis get irritated when having decided the menu after solving such a complex equation are faced with the usual Innikkum Atheva comment!!!
Intelligent Mamis get around this by different ways. For Example,
1. By making the Mama cut vegetables on the weekend. Neenga enna narukki tharelo, athukku ethha madiri thaan menu irukkum. So the ball or rather menu is lobbed to Mama’s court.
2. Apply Nanu mama’s 5th law of cooking. Which is ‘When in a dilemma on menu, do what the British taught us – “Divide and Rule”. Ask the family members themselves to suggest the menu. Usually no two person’s choice of menu matches within the family. You can then decide on your own menu based on your above complex algorithm and move on.
I am talking all this in the context of our previous and probably current generation. In the GenNext Tambrahm households empowered and emboldened by the IT revolution the situation is different. On weekends before answering the Innikku Enna Menu question, there is a more fundamental question and issue to address. Which is what to do for food that day!! In the morning while having the morning cuppa of filter coffee, the couple have to decide based on the following choices regarding their food:
1. Outside – Outside: This means go out and have food in a restaurant
2. Outside – Inside: Order food from outside and have at home
3. Inside – Outside: Make food at home and eat out (Picnic/Potluck party,…)
4. Inside – Inside: Make at home and eat at home
While and 1 and 2 are the most common these days, 3rd is getting popular particularly with NRIs and “Expat Returns” and 4th is rare and resorted to if either of the couple or both or the kid is not keeping well!!!
So in the above framework, if the husband asks the question – Innikku menu enna??? the answer from the wife usually is
Time 8 thaane aagarathu. 10 mani aagattum. Saravana Bhavan open pannina odane kettu solren!!
Why are you asking me? Antha “Menus folder” a paathu neeye decide pannikko!!
Whatever you want, tell the bhai. She will make it for you!!!
Adhaan Appa, Amma veettu pakkathile veedu vaangindu okkanthindu irukkele. Appadiye Anga poi chaptukongo! Amma payyanukku ketta thellam panni tharuva!!!
Innikku weekend aache! For a change why don’t you cook??? (Husbandukku endaappa kelviya kettomnu irukkum!!!)
So the next time Innikku Menu Enna question comes to your mind, manasileye vechukongo!!!