Why do we love PODIs?
PODIs are a reflection of what has been grown in South India, and are a result of many centuries of indigenous ingenuity of putting ingredients to best use, to create long-lasting, flavorful, easy-to-use pantry staples.
PODIs are versatile.
They can be used to flavor cooked rice, cooked whole grains, meat and seafood. They can be easily described as a 'dry sauce'!
"Food in India is closely tied to the moral and social status of individuals and groups. Food taboos and prescriptions divide men from women, gods from humans, upper from lower castes, one sect from another. Eating together, whether as a family, a caste, or a village, is a carefully conducted exercise in the reproduction of intimacy. Exclusion of persons from eating events is a symbolically intense social signal of rank, of distance, or of enmity. Food is believed to cement the relationship between men and gods, as well as between men themselves. Food is never medically or morally neutral." - quote from an excellent paper at the intersection of anthropology and food culture, titled 'How to make a National cuisine: cookbooks in Contemporary India' by Arjun Appadurai
One of the (romantic) notions we hold onto about PODIs is that they are a great equalizer of a condiment in South India - loved by many across economic strata.
Unscathed by geopolitics and untouched by rampant caste politics across India. PODIs are common between the diet of urban centers and rural areas.
- They are flavorful and long-lasting.
- Don't require refrigeration usually.
- Keep fresh for a very long time.
- Help fix a flavorful meal in a jiffy.
- Travel easily.
What's better than honoring and sharing such a humble equalizer of a condiment with the world?
Making PODIs is also a dying practice. It's a labor-intensive process and newer generations haven't learned how to make them.
Our PODIs are made my the matriarch of my family and we are honored to keep this tradition alive!