The first time I made appam, otherwise known as a South Indian coconut and rice based pancake that is fermented, I did it the very un-traditional way and used baking soda instead of yeast or hot toddy. It came out almost perfectly; it probably would have been better if I had thinned out the batter a bit and also had a real appam chetty pan to get the correct shape. Today, for a small dinner party at home, I attempted to use a supposedly more “authentic” recipe that uses yeast, and the texture was all wrong — spongy instead of light, airy, and fluffy. The taste also seemed to have more of that fermented taste that I wasn’t so sure about. That’s not how I remember it tasting when Chris’s mum made it or the last time I made it a year and a half ago.
I was so irritated about how I had failed that I mentioned it a few times to my friends when they came over. They couldn’t tell the difference since this was their first time having it, and they insisted I was being overly critical. It’s true. I was being overly critical, but I tend to be this way about things that I am passionate about, and cooking is clearly in this area. I hate messing up and disappointing myself. We are all perfectionists about some aspects of our lives; that’s how we encourage ourselves to become better versions of ourselves and constantly improve. At least, that’s what I believe.