March 21, 2012

Ammachy's Kachimoru and Zero Food Miles


 Ammachy walked around the Ash Gourd vines near the hen coop looking for her perfect pick of the day. My little steps followed; admiring her Ash Gourd vine that had latched on to every possible opportunity in its vicinity. It must have been in its peak, for I saw Ash Gourds in plenty hanging from the carefree vines. After much deliberation, Ammachy plucked one low lying fruit.

In her brightly lit kitchen where pools of the summer sun added to the warmth and merriment, she stood by her earthen stove and started peeling the skin of the Ash Gourd. No cutting boards, no fancy knives. Using her index finger as the substratum, she sliced them fine. Off they went into her earthen pot along with a pinch of salt, turmeric, green chillies and water. As they simmered on her stove, I nudged the firewood in, occasionally blowing air with a wooden pipe; more for my own delight that I was lending her a big hand.

Ammachy moved onto her dainty little shelf from which she brought a big ceramic pot full of fresh yogurt. As she lifted the lid and kept it aside, even before the clanking sound of the lid faded away, I darted across with a little spoon to take a big dig! As I scooped deep, I noticed the two layers clearly. The top layer was the best with its light yellow tinge and heavenly taste! And the second, the milky white real yogurt! Yum! The beaten curd along with ground coconut mixture dolloped into the simmering pot. When her home-made coconut oil started releasing its heavenly aromas, I waited with bated breath. The mustard seeds spluttered away and the sliced shallots wilted away. The freshly plucked curry leaves along with a bit of fenugreek powder and red chillies took my olfactory senses to a heightened state. And then, the heavenly aroma of her Kachimoru wafted through the old wooden corridors leaving me drooling and impatient!


She had everything in the backyard or in the back of her kitchen shelves. Zero Food Miles. Looking back to my beautiful childhood days, I realize that its not a new fad or a fancy. Just that it has been long forgotten. Conveniently forgotten.


Anonymous said...

Never thought the simple Kachimoru could leave you drooling :)

Gina Koshy said...

I come from a family where there were only professionals (at least 5 generations back). Never was there an "adukala thottam" in my childhood days(but i do have my own wonderful childhood memories). So when i read your post I happened to be walking along side you and your grandma :)And i could see the Ash Gourds with their white powdery skin.... Enjoyed it very much except for the fact that i am not a "kachimoru"fan!!

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Minu Mathew said...

Thanks Gina...interesting to know about your family - where there were only professionals - at least five generations back- curious to know the details! Wow! It must have been so very different! Great to know that you enjoyed my post though you aren't very fond of Kachimoru!

sonia said...

Made me want some Kachimoru myself now after reading this Minu. I can totally relate to this having spent my summer vacations at my dad's home in rural Kerala. My grandfather was a farmer and what cooked at home was what was teh crop cultivated in the when it was Kappa season, it was variety dishes for brekfast kanji to dinner made with Kappa..and likewise when Mango and jackfruit were in season. God what I would do for the occassional dig into the uppumanga bharani now:-)Except for Sunday special non veg(beef),almost everything was zero food miles .Life was tedious in the kitchen for grandma and her brood of 4 DILs churning out food atleast 4 times a day for family and also the labourers in the fields..but I have never heard a single instance of frustration from anyone.Can't say that about myself cooking and taking care for my little family here in the land of convenience and pleanty

Minu Mathew said...

Thanks a lot Sonia for that beautiful comment. How I loved reading it!! And you did take me back to that rustic setting in Kerala...a bustling kitchen where the grandma and her DILs churned out dish after dish...same goes here Sonia! How much I miss those days...and talk about Zero Food Miles...the policy those days was so simple...if you need something, grow it! At the end of the day, I saw so many happy faces and great cheer! How our days have changed, right?

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this one, mainly coz of the writing and also because i'm a fan of the Kachiamoru as well :-)


Minu Mathew said...

Thanks Naveen. Welcome to the Kachiamoru fan club :)

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