A clear demarcation can be seen between Gen-X and the previous generations of Odias when it comes to savouring the traditional pitha pana of Odisha. While the older generations are literally crazy about arisa, kakara, manda, chitau and other pithas, the kids of today tend to turn up their noses and have to be coaxed to sample these age-old delicacies. They prefer to have pastries, ice creams, cheese cakes and chocolates on their plate any day. If at all they try Indian, the Jalebis and the Gulab Jamuns sound and look fancier and hold more sway than the Odia pitha pana. This trend is not only sad and disheartening but disturbing as well.
For people living in Odisha, no festival is complete without an assortment of pithas accompanied by khiri being served to the deities. This is especially true during the month of Margasira when Goddess Laxmi is worshipped on every Thursday of the month. There are different types of pitha and khiri made every Thursday with the complete set being made again on the finale day. For the older generations, it was a treat to make and serve these pithas to the Goddess and then feast on them with complete contentment and enthusiasm. However, with joint families giving way to nuclear families and children having no interest in eating them, it has become a real problem to polish off the multiple pithas.
So, is there a way that these pitha pana can be made more endearing for the Gen-X children? Can we bring back the magic by playing with the way these pithas are made or presented to make it more appealing to our children? Would it be wise to create mandas like doughnuts or coat enduris with chocolate sauce? What do you say?