Mrs. Mohan and Mysore Pak
Juggernaut was recently elected as the President of the Association for Advancement of Indian Cuisine in North America (AAICNA). In his first address to the membership, he wrote the following letter.
As the newly elected president of AAICNA, I am committed to take the responsibilities of this position very seriously. The Indian Diaspora in North America is now couple of millions but growing fast. Most Americans are crazy about Indian food and Indian restaurants are popping up everywhere. As members of AAICNA, we are responsible for monitoring the quality of food served in the Indian restaurants so as to maintain a standard. Since we live in America, where every aspect is classified into categories, it occurred to me that we shall classify various Indian dishes using Tier system based on popularity.
Among scores of Indian sweet delicacies or deserts, the Thri Murthies or Trinity are undoubtedly Jelebi, Laddus and Rasgulla. These three are automatically classified into Tier I class and Tier I is now closed for ever and no other sweet delicacy can be classified into Tier I class pursuant to AAICNA bylaws.
I now invite the membership to nominate your favorite sweet delicacy for Tier II category. To be classified into Tier II category, a desert has to be well known throughout the Indian community and perhaps outside the community and available in most restaurants. Besides, other features are taken into consideration as well. Please participate in this event and go ahead and nominate your favorite desert for Tier II category. During our next meeting, we will evaluate your nominations.
In response to Juggernaut’s memo, several members of AAICNA showed up for monthly meeting. Mrs. Mohan nominated Mysore Pak for Tier II category. Despite its regional name Mysore, this delicacy is well known throughout Indian community. Made from pure ghee (clarified butter), gram flour and sugar, a bite into a piece Mysore Pak is heavenly experience. The mouth feel will linger long after it was eaten.
Dr. Meenakshi nominated Kakinada Kaaja. This is layered sweet delicacy, each bite will release thick greasy sugar syrup into mouth that could cause temporary brain freeze.
“both these nominations have strong regional affiliations, you know, I am not sure if I could support any one of them,’ commented Mrs. Patel, one of the influential committee member and also a generous donor.
While these deliberations were taking place, Mrs. Selvaraj, an educator by profession was surfing internet. “Do you know every island in the Caribbean has a Med school?” she exclaimed.
“True Mysore Pak has in its name Mysore, a City in South India, but it is well liked by all communities you know,” defended Mrs. Mohan.
“How about Kakinada Kaaja, we never heard this before,” questioned Mrs. Patel and Mr. Tulsi.
“Could anybody believe a tiny island named Bonaire has a Med School,” Mrs. Selvaraj shouted. No other member responded to Mrs. Selvaraj and left her alone to surf the internet while they continue to deliberate on the virtues of Mysore Pak and Kakinada Kaaja.
If we were to apply strictly our bylaws, Kakinada Kaaja should be out of consideration to be classified into Tier II class,” declared Mr. Tulsi, a man of conviction and strong feelings.
“According to my research, the City of Mysore was not the birth place of this sweet delicacy we all know as Mysore Pak, ““In fact, nowhere on the internet I could find how it got its name Mysore Pak,” declared frustrated Juggernaut.
“You won’t believe this, the entire academic staff at all these Med schools in the Caribbean are Indian,” declared Mrs. Selvaraj.
“Wait a minute,” said Mrs. Mohan while getting up from her seat. “Look here, Mysore Pak is not a regional delicacy, in fact it evolved in every part of India with regional names, in Gujarath it is called Mohantal, ” Mrs. Mohan appeared flushed as if she stumbled on some discovery while searching on the internet.
Mr. Tulsi and Mrs. Patel after reading the material Mrs. Mohan presented were felt proud that Mohantal AKA Mysore Pak was in fact evolved in Gujarath not in Mysore.
“Folks, do you hear me, this is interesting, almost every Med school in the Caribbean is owned and operated by an Indian,” screamed Mrs. Selvaraj.
Dr. Meenakshi withdrew her nomination for Kakinada Kaaja for Tier II Class since nobody supported her nomination.
All the committee members supported Mrs. Mohan’s nomination for Mysore Pak to be classified as Tier II Class Indian sweet delicacy. Mr. Tulsi and Mrs. Patel insisted that every time Mysore Pak is mentioned, Mohantal should be mentioned in the parenthesis. This suggestion was unanimously approved by the AAICNA.
“It is ironic that Mrs. Mohan’s name was part of Mohantal, and she was the one who nominated for Mysore Pak for Tier II Class of sweet delicacies,” exclaimed Mrs. Selvaraj, while every other member of the committee looked at each other.
Mrs. Mohan brought homemade Mysore Pak (Mohantal) to celebrate. A plate with Mysore Pak (Mohantal) pieces cut in shape of diamond were circulated among the members of the committee, some members shoved more than one piece into their mouth, while others stacked few carefully into a napkin wrap. At the end, Juggernaut left with none to taste.