Tag Archives: nut

Sugar and rice and everything spice………….

I have been hearing about the spice market and I have desperately wanted to go. It sounded like a magical place where the sights were only rivaled by the smells. Where wholesalers bargained out of burlap sacks and the color of the spices lit up the canvas of the market.

Unfortunately, it felt a little drab – more like the streets of Oliver Twist rather than the hoped fields of the Sound of Music – but there were some beautiful sights to take in. The spices did light up the back drop a little – like the hushed tones of a sepia infused photograph. Quietly stunning.

On the way to the Spice Market in Old Delhi, the streets are lined with nut wallas – a walla is a merchant – so you guessed it – a nut walla sells nuts. There were dozens of them – one right after the other. Their displays were beautiful and tasty.

There was also a paneer walla. He sells blocks of paneer – think cottage cheese meets tofu – it is very popular here among the veg and non-veg eaters. And, yes, it bothered me a little that it was not refrigerated – but it did not seem to bother anyone else.

Along the way to the actual Spice Market, you see a lot of stalls with spices in them. But even though these are not the stuff that the official wholesale spice market is made of, they are pretty all the same.

There are also all sorts of pickled treats. I am a big believer in “when in Rome” so if this had been pasta, I would have surely tried it. But alas, I am in India and could not bring myself to taste these unidentifiable delights. The locals were not so shy and quickly savored them.

Now this is another story – take a potato, slice it, and fry it in some grease – and you have yourself a customer.

These are bags of rice and flour.

These are seeds for Lotus flowers.

Someone told me what these were but I cannot remember – some form of crystallized sugar – maybe molasses – I can’t remember – if you know, please do tell.

I wanted to go all Martha Stewart on these stars of anise and decorate them with glitter or at least a little paint. Wouldn’t they be pretty hanging on a tree with a ribbon?

These bowls were in the actual Spice Market. I did not know what all of them were – but there is surely curry, pepper, cinnamon, salt, coriander, ginger, chili powder, and many other yummy spices in these bowls.

I wonder how this works. These are red chili peppers. This is a wholesale market – so it is entirely possible that these bags get emptied every day. But what happens if they don’t all sell? And who is buying that many chili peppers?

This yellow root is tumeric. It is said if you grind it and add it to a warm glass of milk and drink that every day, you will fight off the swine flu.

And, no, I really don’t want to know why they are selling rat traps here.

These are dried rose petals for making potpourri. They smelled as lovely as they looked and reminded me of my grandmother’s bathroom.

This is what a typical stall looked like. Bags brimming with spices just waiting for someone to come buy them.

And really, truly, don’t blink or you might miss it. This is the sign above the alley that tells you that you have officially arrived at the Spice Market. It was a crowded place with lots of activity – not many tourists – and a lot to see. I am glad we found it!

Where have all the nut allergies gone…..

In the U.S., there was not a preschool or elementary school parent who didn’t have a story about the hoops s/he had to jump through just to bring a snack to class. Not that we were not PERFECTLY happy to be extremely careful. Food allergies are serious and no one wants to lose a child over a well intentioned cupcake. But in the U.S., it gets c.o.m.p.l.i.c.a.t.e.d. It can be a pain in the lactose-free pudding.

I am not kidding when I tell you that one preschool class my daughter was in would not allow any snacks that had:

lactose
gluten
nuts
whey
soy
citrus
red dye
taste

It would have been prudent to buy crackers – throw them away and just serve them the cardboard box. At least the kids would have gotten their fiber.

And this was not because of a proven nut allergy – oh no – it was the potential for a possible allergy that had this mom marking yummy snacks off of our list. It seems her older son might have had an episode – to hear her tell it – they weren’t exactly sure it was an episode – but no sense taking any chances. hee hee hee. And by older son, I do not mean the child actually in my daughter’s class – just someone related to the child in my daughter’s class.

Seriously, I would grind dirt into Angel food cake if it meant your child would not get sick. But give me a real list I can work with. And take your kid to the doctor and rule out at least a couple of those. They have tests now. It all made me a little allergic to nuts of a different type.

The most infuriating part was with about 6 weeks left in the school year and about 4,000 carrot sticks later, we were given the “all clear”. It seems little Johnny has no allergies after all. hee hee hee. Silly me.

So it amazes me that here in India none of my kids friends or classes even talk about nut allergies – or any other food allergy for that matter. What do you make of that – do Indian children or expat children just not have allergies?

P.S. And please don’t worry about me offending this mom. She and I never really had time to bond – I was too busy peeling carrots and cutting grapes in half – oh, you didn’t know – grapes are a chocking hazard. 😉