In mid-2015 a diaspora Tamil thambi (younger brother) connected with me on facebook saying he had read a piece I had written a few years earlier about the war in Sri Lanka. After chatting for a bit on facebook, I sent him a link to My Tamil Kitchen.
His reply: “I see.. you’ve definitely moved on. But im sure the fire is still in there”
Translation: “You used to be political but now you have a cooking blog – oh well”.
Erm bro the fire is as strong as ever and your misogyny is not welcome.
The Sri Lankan establishment and their allies are attempting to wipe out our entire Eelam identity – our food, customs and the community that we build around it – and this is my tiny act of resistance.
Thambi soon realised he had missed the mark and apologised. I respect him for doing so.
The Eelam Tamil community is now dispersed throughout the world. As a result, our identity is changing as it melds with the cultures of our new ‘home’ countries.
There is so much we need to work on: homophobia, transphobia , casteism, misogyny, sexism, racism etc. But there are parts of our identity that I want to hold onto. I hope we all do. Our food is one of those things.
As someone who has grown up in the West and can no longer go back home, to a land under occupation, I am a little panicked about all the ancestral knowledge that will be lost with my elders if I don’t learn it with some urgency. All of it.
MTK is my resistance and my journey through my identity. The delicious food that gets created in the process is a bonus.