White Cannon Balls

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

White Cannon Balls…

In the officer's mess, all living in officers used to do the Food Member duty in rotation. The primary responsibility of the food member was to check the expenditure on a regular basis and manage the cooks and waiters. He could even decide the daily menu – though no one ever experimented that. Once, a colleague and a close friend of mine, then a Pilot Officer, Shibu - a keralite, was assigned with this task. Shibu was a typical Mallu, with a strong liking for the Kerala Food. Fortunately for the dining in members, Shibu had to manage the mess, mostly with the ration stuff – so the Roti, Sabzi, Dal and the typical north Indian dishes remained in the menu. The breakfast menu was always the same, bread-butter-jam-omelette/cutlet – with an exception on Sundays. Everyone eagerly waited for the ‘Aloo Ki paratha’ or on fewer occasions the south Indian delicacy ‘Idli- Dosa’ to relish on the weekend.

On Sundays, we all were a bit lethargic and preferred having the breakfast in our rooms. On one such day - while Shibu was in charge, everyone got up late as usual and was welcomed by a plate with four white colored laddoos. No one had seen something like that before. Even the bearers had no clue, but managed to say that it was some kind of a Kerala Breakfast, made with rice flour and a yummy gravy inside - Shibu Sir's new experiment. ‘Idli- Dosa’ – a typical south Indian food, was always a delicacy for the North Indian Colleagues. So, they all hoped the white balls also would be something like that. Eagerly, they all grabbed it and took a bite. All their enthusiasm evaporated instantaneously, and they started cursing Shibu. Someone yelled at the bearer - ‘Take away the ******** cannon Balls’…

Yes, you guessed it right, it was Kozhukatta – a typical Kerala Christian snack. Infact, today (the Saturday before the palm Sunday) is called ‘Kozhukatta Saturday’ and traditionally almost all Christian families prepare and relish this snack at home on this day. Though, Shibu’s idea was to introduce a new Kerala snack to others, it flopped. thanks to the north Indian cooks there. no, blaming them fully won't be correct - they had not even seen that before. In fact, Shibu with his ‘Totti footi’ Hindi, had managed to explain the recipe somehow. But when they prepared, it turned out to be a thick shell of rice flour with a very tiny core of jaggery-coconut mixture. Even the rice mix was not proper, making it so hard after cooking – befitting the title ‘White Cannon Balls’ quite aptly. After that incident, Shibu was not to be seen anywhere for over a week fearing the fury of the colleagues. He never ever dared to try that ‘White Cannon Balls’ in the mess after that incident.

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