Sometime in 2004 if I am not mistaken, as a freelancer, I had done a piece on the toddy shops of Kerala for India Today’s supplement called Simply South. My first-person narrative came back with a terse comment from Simply South editor Shampa Dhar-Kamath: Slumming! She didn’t think anyone would frequent toddy shops to enjoy its unique cuisine. So I talked to a few people, the rich and famous of little Kochi, and rewrote the piece. The piece was published and I forgot about it. A few months later, one toddy shop owner called excitedly to say he was getting visitors from all over the country. The shop got a thorough makeover. I like to claim I put toddy shops on the food map of India. And, I never tire of telling that story!