As a foodie, I love anything associated with food and everything that defines what we eat. So when we talk about the Gods we worship, ‘Ganesha’, the lover of food has to be my favorite. Considering my life revolves around eating, cooking and dreaming of what to eat next, he is clearly the right God to have by my side at all times.
As a child of not-so religious parents, we did not celebrate any festivals. However, Ganesh Chaturthi had a very special place in my life because our entire neighborhood celebrated it with a lot of glee. Everyone from kids to grown-ups pitched in to make the festival a memorable one. From collecting donations to buying the idol to getting all the aunties to prepare mouth-watering delicacies to tempt Ganesha, we did it all.
Considering that this was the only time our parents allowed us to stay out after dinner, we, of course, waited with bated breath for this time of the year. Since our neighborhood consisted of families from all over the country, everyone had their way of worshiping him, which resulted in festivities that were very non-traditional. The daily aarti would be sung in five different languages on top of our voices, and then he would also be treated with sweets like modaks, halwa and Mysore pak, which was my favorite. Prepared with gram flour, sugar, and an unmentionable amount of ghee, Mysore pak was a melt-in-the-mouth goodness that excited even mere mortals like me.
Standing outside the kitchen where the pak would be made, we would watch the ladies mix the gram flour with the sugar syrup till the whole thing came together after rigorous stirring. We knew the halwa was ready when there was an unmistakable aroma of gram flour being cooked with ghee.
The wet sticky mixture would then be left to be set till it became a fudge (pak), which would then be offered to Lord Ganesh during the evening puja. Considering how delicious the pak was, I don’t think he could resist eating it. While I may not know any traditions to invoke his blessings, I do know that the way to his heart is through his round tummy, and Mysore pak is the treat that I make every time he visits us.
And while I make sweets I also try and lay out a feast not just for him but also for his entire family. However this is a post for Mysore Pak and if you want the recipe, please head over to the page of India Food Network and try it yourself.