The next time you take a lick of your favourite gelato, gentle reader, think of us with gratitude. After all it is our sweet tooth (and that of our dining companion, a former sugar goblin turned gym rat) that kept one of the first gelatarias - Mama Mia, now a local chain - in the Ooru going. We cited the party line health benefits (it has less fat than ice-cream!), as we dreamed of engineering a pulley system that would connect our balcony to the cashier. And now we smugly cite our undying loyalty as the sole reason Indiranagar is infested with shops serving frozen treats.
Food nostalgia is a total scam. It ensures Barbeque Nation has a 4+ rating on Zomato because team lunches make you believe that a break in office monotony is synonymous with fun. It makes you like the terrible tea at your local chai-sutta because that’s the only place you could afford to go to when you bunked class in college. It makes you romanticise insipid dal and mushy veggies as good home cooking (sorry other people’s mums). It’s even a marketing tagline: “drinks and memories!” chirp hipster pouches of juice in our grocery store aisles.
But it’s this same food nostalgia that makes us go all soft with fondness when we pass by Claytopia where us and the gym rat thulped cheap burgers. We remember when they introduced us to the nippat bun masala from the stand opposite their college every time we crunch into one again. We long for another night out on the town instigated by a drink too many during the pregame at Sathya’s. We wonder if we can still build that pulley to the gelato shop.
Every meal winds its way back to the experience of eating it with our favourite person. Food nostalgia is corny, groan worthy, eye-roll inducing, and ready fodder for the hottest of edgelord Twitter takes. But it is materially impossible to detangle from it, because we can’t bear to let go of the people food - good or bad - reminds us of. It’s why our reviews are accompanied by a costing for two.
After 15 years in the Ooru, the gym rat - our favourite dining companion bar none - has left this city to discover new ones. We’ll miss him with every meal.
Sushmita Sundaram writes about food, culture, and discovering your city. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city