Sunday, 28 April 2019

Heart Talk: An Unforgettable Taste

Hospitality is a BIG thing in my culture. There is always this one cabinet full of snacks and biscuits to be served to guests in every household. I remember as soon as the guests would settle in my mum would signal me to go to the kitchen and start setting up ‘the trolley’. Biscuits, cakes, savoury snacks, kebabs, sandwiches were typical items set in the best dishes. 

Once done, the trolley would then be brought in the drawing room. I remember playing the guessing game of who is eldest in the room because I was taught to start serving with the eldest. Out of courtesy guest 1 would tell me to offer to guest 2 first and guest 2 would refuse to be served before guest 1. I would stand in between tossing the plate from one person to the other. My siblings and I, the hosts, were never allowed to have anything from the trolley. And once the guest left it used to take us immense self-control to not attack the trolley and gobble all the leftovers out of the fear that the guest may come back to pick something they forgot! 
Most of the times we used to lose all control and sometimes guests did return to find us with mouths full running around looking for a place to hide. 
When we used to be guests at someone’s house we were not to take a second helping nor fill our plates to the brim the first time no matter how hungry we were. Also, to say no if someone offered a second helping. 
Once we went to dad’s friend’s house. He was a pilot and had just come back from Turkey. On the trolley was this Turkish Halwa that I was to have for the first time in my life. I took a small helping as per rules and this heavenly thing just melted in my mouth. There was no way I could take a second helping. I don’t remember anything else about our visit but, that I had decided to rebel and say yes if someone offered me again. But, no one offered another helping and I just sat there looking at the halwa hoping for a way another bite could land in my mouth…. 
It did….. probably some 20 years later when I visited Turkey and I saw this being sold at the spice bazaar. A flashback of that evening and the unforgettable taste of the halwa melting in my mouth made me very nostalgic. I bought a box for myself and I remember how I cherished it for a long time. Now, I do have ample of places and opportunities to buy this but, I still long for it and savour every bite for it transports me back in time to that …. one evening… long, long ago….

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