This was an interesting thought experiment. What would I want to eat before I die? I am assuming that I know that the end is near and I have stopped hyperventilating about it…what then? Should I try some thing exotic or should I stick to the tried and tested? I would love to try something new and unknown but the risk of being disappointed far outweighs the promise of tantalizing new tastes. Should I cook myself one last awesome meal or go out to my favorite restaurant? Again, with the whole distracting business of death on my mind, I am not sure how good my last meal would turn out and eating out means choosing from a dizzying array of favorites.
With my whole life and its myriad experiences swimming in front of my eyes, I had rather stick with something comforting; like that bowl of cold, creamy milk mixed with fragrant atap rice and chopped langda mangoes from my childhood days. Bengali children are usually given a mixture of cooked rice and fruit doused in sweetened milk in lieu of a full meal at times. The adults on the other hand eat it as an impromptu make your own desert thing, though I have seen grown ups in my family tuck in some rasgulla’s afterwards too. My mother would put the slightly warm rice in our favorite bowls, top it with chopped bananas or mangoes (depending on the season) and finally pour in the milk. And in winters, dollops of liquid khejur gur were added to the mix. The whole mixture attains a porridge like consistency if you can mash it all up pretty well.
Yep, with the Grim Reaper knocking on my door this is what I would want or fix myself, knowing fully well that with something as simple as doodh-bhaat there is no margin of error.
atap: milled rice from sun-dried paddy, as opposed to the less fragrant shiddhya-chaal which is rice milled from parboiled paddy.
langda: A famous North Indian mango, which ripens after all varieties from the South. It is cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and other North Indian states. Its season begins much after the famed Alphonso
doodh–bhaat: milk and cooked rice. Bengalis incidentally have two different words for rice, chaal for uncooked rice and bhaat for cooked rice.
khejur gur: liquid date palm jaggery made from boiling the sap from date palms.