A Spice Journey of Tamileelam
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is where I got the name for my blog from. Eelam Flavour is a blog I started about my cooking adventures of dishes inspired by the flavours of Tamileelam, the homeland of Eelam Tamils. Many Tamils, like myself, do not identify as Sri-Lankan, and identify as Eelam Tamils. Food is a huge part of identity, and preserving knowledge about food helps to preserve this. The map below outlines the boundaries of Tamileelam, made of commonly used Tamil spices.
In starting my blog, I was most interested in sharing and preserving some of the wisdom from Tamil cooking. I did research to help collect this information, and also relied on the experience and wisdom of older relatives. Like, for instance serving food on vaalai ilia (banana leaf) not only enhanced the food flavours, but the leaves were served to cows afterwards so it would not go to waste.
The uses of different spices and herbs are quite well-known to grandmas and mothers, some of this information has been recorded and preserved through epigraphs chiseled in walls of our ancient temples. In these epigraphs, we’ve learned that our ancient cooking specifies the size of kitchen to be used, the size of the stoves to be used, the direction the stove should face, and highly recommends that the cook should not be angry or hold a grudge with someone while cooking. Cleanliness habits have also been talked about (ie. tying up long hair). Our ancestors treated cooking as an art form, one that required much care, love, passion, respect and mastery.
However, younger generations do not always know why certain things are added to certain dishes, and that is what I mostly want to be able to share through this blog. Not necessarily the recipes themselves, but the benefits behind all the ingredients and methods used in Tamil cooking. If there are any topics you would like me to talk about specifically, please send me a message and I’d be happy to look into it.
Thank-you all for your support with my blog so far. 🙂