Last night's dinner was semiya upma. As we tucked into its whispy thin strands, I was reminded of Mammooty's dialogue in the opening scene of Azhagan in which he is addressing an audience. He begins his speech likening himself to upma. Having grabbed the audience's attention, he goes on to explain how the original speaker had fallen ill and how he had been asked to take his place as a last-minute replacement. Much like the upma which fills in quite readily, the place of a main meal at a short notice.
I'm partial to semiya upma. Only because I cannot make arisi upma quite as well as Pattu maami and my ravai upma always ends up stodgy. The mother-in-law's semiya upma is legendary and a trick I learnt from her is to add a generous spoon of nei just as you're about to switch off. Then there's the weird creature - bread upma. Waste of two perfectly good ideas. And always ends up resembling something the cow dropped. I'd rather eat my own head than eat a plate of bread upma.
The wonderful thing about upma is that it needs little preparation. It's fuss-free. No-soaking-grinding-fermenting nonsense. It's a bit like having a friend knock on your door one Thursday evening and dropping in unannounced for a cuppa. You could easily put together a delicious upma with the basics in your larder. It could be leathery-soggy or breadcrumb-ly and still quite delicious.
I don't know what we're going to have for dinner tonight. But there's a good chance that it will be be something hot and easy. A bit like Mammooty, I guess.