Author Vedic Vanna
Even as the raging summer heat denies us all acts of kindness, this is still vacation time for kids. Whether we are planning a short family getaway or having relatives come over, we do try to infuse some healthy fun food to our holiday regime.
This post is inspired by my childhood summer vacation memories of mom, aunts and grannies in every family bringing out their best of old school seasonal hacks out of their magic bag to keep everyone healthy and refreshed.
I remember how mom & aunts shoved us in a room with carom boards, Monopoly, Story books, painting sets, music & dance sessions to save us from the sun, while the kids still found divine pleasure sweating out in the summer heat with sun baked faces, proudly sporting blisters and rashes. The daily rituals of spraying of Talcum powder post bath, being fed delicious food that was simple with mild flavors & easy on the stomach. We looked forward to the power cuts at night where we would all run to the terrace waiting for grandma to spin a magical world with her stories while we dozed off staring at the starry sky.
This is a reminiscence of a reverse food journey that I still swear by. Over the next few days, I will share my childhood memories of summer foods and look forward to know yours!
Additionally, it is an attempt to counter summer menaces like dehydration, allergies, stomach infections, fungal infections and bring back memories of our comfort food that we grew up on
Love for Sherbets! Healthier Alternatives to keep us energized and hydrated.
Bael (Wood Apple ) Sharbat
Bael (Wood Apple ) Sharbat – A perfect cool drink which helps in weight loss & increases metabolism! Packed with beta-carotene, protein, riboflavin and vitamin C, it is naturally sweet hence you need not add sugar.
Aam ( Mango) panna- traditionally made by roasting raw green mangoes on charcoal until the skin turns brown, letting it cool ,peeling the skin off and squeezing the pulp out. This is a delicious cooler ideal for summer as it helps digestion.
Watermelon juice – Keeps you hydrated and good for weight loss.
Gondhoraj Lebur Ghol (Bengal lime Buttermilk)- Gondhoraj is one of the most aromatic lime varieties found in Bengal. Till date my obsession for this chemistry in a glass is unrelenting! A concoction made of yoghurt, sugar, rock salt and the lime is a combination of a Chaas and Shikanji punched with bursts of flavor and fragrance.
A dash of fresh mint leaves added to these sherbets is not only refreshing but helps control bloating & aids digestion.
Fruits found in Abundance But Rare Now
We all grew up on mangoes , lychees, Chiku & melons but I also recollect gorging into Tar gola or Taal shash ( ice apple, palmyra palm), Jamrul
( Water apple), Phalsa (Grewia Asiatica), Chakorta ( Indian grapefruit, Pomelo). These were loaded with Vit. C & were low on calories.
Try remembering any exotic fruits that you grew up on during summers.
Daily Staples: Mostly Delicious but definitely Nutritious
The staples were Raw Mango Dal, bitter yellow dal ( with Karela), Shukto
( a mix veg sans spices with a tinge of bitterness), Jackfruit,
Moringa curries( now we see dietitians swear by its nutritious value) , Summer fish stews & the mouthwatering Tok ( a watery sweet & tangy palate cleanser) made either with raw mango or chalta/ karambel ( elephant apple) or Jalpai ( indian olives) Most of the staples were a soupy consistency, either tangy or mildly bitter not only to beat the heat but came loaded with powerful antioxidants which improved immunity, very low on calorie but were high on fibre.
Can't forget the Home made Ice Popsicles
The memories of my mom making ice popsicles at home with sherbets & fruit extracts are still still fresh on my taste buds. We were all allowed one each ( yeah mom was strict) during evening tea time for elders. They don't taste the same anymore when I try making them at home thanks to the adulterated stuffs available today. However I try killing the craving with Ice Lollies available in the market these days but it misses the humbleness of the old school flavors owing to its gourmet reincarnation.
Some of these food did require serious convincing & coaxing from the family but today I know the reason for being healthy.
As we move forward to our future, we can't deny the influences of environmental aggressors & lifestyles demands that will keep impacting our food habits but as Vedic Vanna believes- Come Home To Your Roots! When you are unsure of what to serve to your family to keep them healthy, always refer to your childhood memories of food served by your mom.
To celebrate our unique diverse food cultures, I look forward to hear some exciting comfort food summer stories from you!