Skip to main content

On Things That Get Imported


I sometimes marvel at the people who make purchasing decisions for supermarkets. Really, just walk down the aisles of any large grocery store in Mumbai, specially the imported food sections, and so much of it will make no logical sense. Take this elderflower cordial. Syrups and mixers fall in two categories in Indian markets. There is the Roohafza and all the local flavours my mom and aunties buy every summer. And there are the high priced Monin flavours of Irish Cream and Blue Curacao and such like made popular by the drinks served at cafes and pubs.

Elderflower cordial is neither. It's not a flower that's either grown or traditionally made into a drink in India. And I am yet to find a Mumbai pub selling elderflower drinks. In short, selling elderflower cordial in India completely defies logic. And yet there are rows of these bottles sitting pretty in the imported food aisles of hypercity.

And I was so glad they are there, I wasted no time bringing one home and fixing myself a drink. For these iconic green bottles define summer in a distant city that's almost a second home to me. Elderflower to me is a short lived summer, a basement pub and lots of smiling friends. So whoever you are Mr. Hypercity buyer, thank you for the memories!

Comments

Kalpana said…
Hi Simran,
Certainly a lot of ridiculous food stuff does get imported and gives me cause for plenty of caustic comment. But leave the elderflower cordial alone :)
I love that stuff and the delicate taste of elderflower evokes all the subtlety of Europe. I for one was delighted to find it in the grocery store.
That's when I figured that some of the things that make no sense to me may be exactly what someone else needs to help with their homesickness or their nostalgia. And I decided to stop judging.

Popular posts from this blog

Healthy Spinach Rice for Microwave Potluck Party

Is it really two years that Srivalli has been running her innovative microwave cooking event. She's prompted me to try my microwave for more than just heating several times. Just like last year, Srivalli celebrates the event anniversary with a potluck party. I took a dessert to the party last time around, but this time I was rooting for something healthier. I turned to last year's roundup, and there was this spinach rice. Valli, hope you don't mind getting the same dish on the menu again.

To make spinach rice, wash and soak 1/2 cup rice. In a microwave safe dish, heat a tsp of ghee for 30 seconds. Add 5-6 peppercorns and heat for another 10 seconds. Now add a small onion, chopped finely and microwave for another 30 seconds. Add a cup of finely chopped spinach, 1/2 a tsp of garam masala and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts. Add rice to the bowl, and a cup of water then pop it back in the microwave for 5 minutes. Bring it out and…

Tales of A Female Nomad

This month, our book club goes on a nomadic tour. We traveled with Rita Golden Gelman, a writer who sold everything she owned after the shock of a divorce and became a nomad. Not a tourist, because Rita stays away from everything that a tourist does and instead, tries to live the lives of people she visits.

From Mexico to Israel to Galapago Islands, Rita goes the way least traveled, always preferring to stay as a boarder with natives. And sometimes, going to places not even locals will go, places so secluded yet beautiful that Rita's description takes your breath away, urges you to become a nomad yourself.

Yet even nomads sometimes find their roots. Rita found hers in Bali where she spent eight years. Starting as a boarder with a prince, she eventually became a part of the family. I instantly knew I wanted to cook something Indonesian. I picked Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian fried rice.



There are as many recipes for Nasi Goreng as there are cooks. Some use tomatoes, others tamarind.…

The Bread Whisperer

What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.

For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.

Thoro…