Jan 21, 2012

A Bittersweet Tradion

By Afnan Imran
Bittersweet memories assailed me as I saw the dish laden with fiery orange and yellow rice. The golden brown mutton bong, also known as the danda, glistened with ghee in the midst of this small mountain, reminding me of a long ago Eid. Aged nine, I had been inconsolable when I had realized that my pet of two months was no more than a sacrifice. I had been carried away by my father, kicking and screaming when my brother had committed the unforgivable deed of slaughtering Mr. Goat. I had sobbed uncontrollably in my father’s arms when I saw the splatters of crimson on the front of my brother’s white kurta. My family feasted on danda biryani that day as was tradition in my family on Eid. The memory made bile rise in my throat as if I had just accidentally eaten the caustic cloves that peppered the rice.
However, the heady, pungent aroma of garam masala refused to let me dwell on bitter memories. It reminded me of my grandmother on Eid, adding saffron to the pot. The cardamom that I was sure was underneath the rice reminded me of my protests when she had opened the jar of cardamoms. It always spoiled biryani for me. It was like a nasty surprise just waiting to assault you at the right moment. I hate it when I pop a spoonful of spicy rice and accidentally bite into an annoying cardamom.
The scatter of quartered potatoes was my favorite part. Some shone a mouth-watering, light golden while some had been stained with orange food color. My teeth slid through each bite of those potatoes like a knife running through butter. They would have that inexplicable comfort that potatoes tend to have no matter what age you are.
The savory food beckoned to me like a mother calling her child home and I decided to dig in.


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