It was love at first sight! It was decades after many monotonous days in my kitchen!
Well, It is about my love for freshly ground spices.  

My kitchen was nothing different than any other middle-class kitchen, till one day I decided to get my spices freshly-powdered from the spice mill. These kitchen decisions I implement proactively. Carrying many bags, I went to the wholesale grocery shop at Pashan village.  The shop was filled with the earthy organic fragrance of many varieties of rice, wheat, and spices kept in open gunny bags. These smells can awaken something innate in you. I don’t even mind spending some time there inhaling the fragrance of the oil, rice, jaggery, dry chilies, dry coconut while the shopkeeper attended to other customers. I bought one kg each of red chillies, coriander seeds, and dry turmeric pods.

 I only knew about flour mills from where I get my wheat flour. I made the inquiries and located a quaint spice mill near the shop.  It was a part of a small home. I kept my spices with the lady owner of the home and mill. She told me to come back after two days to collect the powdered spices. On the speculated evening I went to the mill with anticipation tingling my feet. I am going to upgrade my kitchen with fresh unpolluted spices.  The shutter of the spice mill was open. I saw a golden stream of fresh turmeric powder cascading down to a dabba kept on the floor from an ancient machine. That was the moment I fell in love with this freshly-powdered wonder. I got my fresh spice powders home in great excitement. That evening I decided I will never buy spice powders from shops except in an emergency. I will get them powdered come what may. My one kilo stock of spice powders lasted almost eight to nine months. The time has come to refill my spice powders.  It was monsoon season, as usual, I went to the grocery shop and purchased whole spices and carried them to the spice mill. To my great dismay, the shop owner lady told me there is no powdering during monsoons. And the mill is closed for three to four months. Just imagine my desperation at that moment. Like a dejected lover I waited there for some more hoping the lady mill owner might change her mind and take my spices for grinding.   But it didn’t happen.

Looking at my depressed state, the auto driver suggested there is a bigger mill in Shivaji Nagar which is open throughout the year. We headed for the Shivaji Nagar mill which was a little far from our place. I was not willing to give up and love doesn’t always rhyme with reason. We reached the mill only to find they also stopped powdering chillies due to the monsoon. The shopkeeper explained how the red chillies get soggy during the rains and thus unfit for powdering in the traditional machine.   Masalas like chilli powder, goda masala, kanta lassun masala, kala masala, etc are essentials in Maharashtrian cuisine so he had a good stock of these masalas for situations like these.

 He assured me they are of the finest of qualities and I can have them for the time being. But I was reluctant. He directed me to another bigger and the oldest spice mill which is situated at the heart of the city. He said I can try my luck there. While I sat silently in the auto,the auto driver took the directions to find our next destination. Somehow we reached this ancient spice mill which was indeed quite big and with many machines of different shapes and sizes.These were meant for powdering different spices. Two-three workers were idling around and not much action was happening there too. I explained the sad story once again. One person took pity on me and said he will just powder the Haldi and Dhana jeera for me. Dhana jeera is another special masala of my city which is a mixture of coriander and cumin. Thus I got my precious spice powders except for chilli powder which I purchased from the previous mill on my way back. Circling the city in an auto almost for two hours desperately I was tired and crestfallen.

At that moment the only thing I longed for was strong moral support for my cause from somebody known to me.  But that too was not coming from anywhere. Well, I can’t blame anyone for that. After all, no one asked me to get freshly powdered spices to be put in the curries.

Once again few months passed and my spice jars were ready for a refill. This time I asked my driver to get them powdered from a mill. When he got the spice powders, he asked me if he can have a little bit of coriander powder to take home to show to his wife. Yes, I knew he was enamored by the earthy fragrance too.  I happily gave him a small box of coriander powder. It was a winning moment. I could make a small ripple in the attitude of at least one person with all that effort I made in the pursuit of purity.

A spice affair! 2

Why we eat what we eat? Do we ever ask this question ? 

Let us see what makes the golden spice ‘’Turmeric’’ so precious.

Turmeric is a medicinal herb and contains the yellow chemical Curcumin. It is a strong anti-oxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects. Anti-oxidants are  ‘’free radical scavengers’’. Free radicals are the wastes produced by the cells and can cause oxidative stress. Hence our diet must contain food that can give a lot of organic antioxidants to protect our cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

Turmeric also gives that bright and cheerful yellow color to most of our curries. Whenever I add a pinch of turmeric to my curries, I feel like adding a   small cover of protection and purity to the food.

Once my Gym instructor shared his weight maintenance secret with me.

He said ‘’ Eat whatever you may want throughout the day. By 6 pm eat a healthy salad of sprouts, fruits, and veggies. Nothing for dinner after that. Have a glass of Turmeric milk before sleeping’’.

Have you tried  ‘’ The Turmeric Latte’’  recently. ? J If not you can give it a try.

Take one glass of milk .

Add a pinch of turmeric. (Please take care not to add too much turmeric into your latte. A pinch of it will do. 

‘’Ati sarvartra varjayeth. ‘’ Excess of anything is bad. )

Add a small dash of crushed black pepper.

Bring to a nice boil.

Add a pinch of cinnamon powder.

Enjoy your warm soothing turmeric latte before sleeping. It is especially good for the cold weather. 🙂 

Jai Sri Hari.


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Surekha Chandrasekhar

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