Thursday, March 27, 2008

Responses to my "Presentation" survey...what's a leaf got to do with it?

It's been interesting for me to engage in my set of online communities - to see the way people engage, interact, respond, or not. This blog has been a great way for me to maintain a web journal, and also be my version of my mom's recipe book that my kids can hopefully access some day as they decide to try their hand at their own dinner parties, perhaps.

I had set up my survey on the importance of presentation on this blog - and got some results. But the colorful commentary came through my friends on facebook -they were responding to my emailed link! One surprising result - a number of them brought up the banana leaf as the best presentation device they remember. For those of you scratching your heads at this, take a gander at these photos from my last Onam party. Onam celebrates the harvest season, and commemorates the legendary homecoming of the great king Mahabali.

The picture to the left shows us in the middle of filling the plate with the traditional meal or the onam sadhya, which can have as many as twelve elements to the meal. Says one friend: "i prefer banana leaf - it's so old school it's cool!" And says another, " Okay the Mallu in me is coming out, I suggest leaves for a light train snack, or better newspaper. But it would have to be classy, the FT or Times?" !!
[Mallu is short for Malayalee, as people originally from the Indian state of Kerala are known]
A huge positive in this approach is that this is just one aspect of a fast-disappearing culture that tried to be very respectful of, and be one with, nature. Traditional Kerala culture tends to be very attuned with nature - and these leaf plates are bio-degradable, and pretty elegant.
If you want to try this out, ask for palm leaves at any Hispanic store. The come folded and frozen. Palm leaves can also be used to wrap and cook fish. I'll try this out and write it up some time soon.
Also, here's the quirkiest response to my question: "but remember to be careful eating at Grand Central Station. you could be in the middle of an expensive meal with a great glass of wine and suddenly you may be attacked by bats. it happened to me once -- i was there with a few other folks. everyone freaked out, including the restaurant workers."

1 comment:

Dee said...

wow..the presentation on the vazhai yelai (plantain leaf in tamil) does look appetizing :)