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Mango – The Enchanter May 30, 2008

Posted by live2cook in General, Recycle.
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9 comments

Who is an enchanter? The one who Fascinates or Delights us. The “Wisdom Fruit” Mango keeps fascinating me with its taste and the memories. I hope it is the same with others too. That’s why I think, while one says “Madness“, the other calls it “Manthram” (tool or instrument for thoughts and Ideas).

The weather conditions of India helps mango so much that almost every home in India will have at least one mango tree. Our home has one too. So I had the opportunity to taste the produce fresh from the tree. Not just the Fruit,the taste of the tender brownish leaves stuffed with Tamarind will outcast all the snacks and finger foods in this world.

Apart from all these fascinating tastes, I love to share with you an anecdote related to Mango. In India, we have street vendors who bring the produce of the season to our doors. They get the produce from farmers or wholesalers and sell it with little profit. Most of the families used to buy from them as the cost and time to go to a market is higher than the produce price of the street vendors. These vendors carry their baskets either in a bike (Bicycle as we call it in India) or in a pull cart. They will shout the names of the produce that they are carrying that day. A vendor who carries Apples that day will shout “Apples” with different adjectives and in different tones. The fun part is the families who don’t know the actual name of the vendor, will call him by the name of his produce he sells that day. So If we want to buy apple from him, we will call “Apple” from our porch to make him stop by. If we call him like, “Hey, Mr. Vendor, who sells that particular variety Apple, Can you please stop by my house? I want to bargain and buy”, even before we finish he will be in the next street. So, calling the vendor by his produce name is a usual thing in our lives. But, I used to make fun of this. I used to ask my neighbors, “What if two vendors sell the same produce that day? How will you pick from which vendor you want to buy?”. They will ignore me with a smile since no two vendors will sell the same produce in the same street. If there is one vendor, selling the same thing in a street, the other vendor will approach another street.

But, to my satisfaction, it so happened one day that two vendors came to sell “Mango” in our street. Since this Fascinating Fruit has so many varieties and both the vendors were carrying different varieties , they approached our street. Both knew what the other is carrying. So they started to sell by the Variety name. The Male vendor with a Beard (Remember, he has a Beard), started selling “Banganapalli” Mango. The Female vendor started selling “Dhaadi” Mango. Here, I have to explain you about the latter variety as that is the essence of the story. The “Dhaadi” mango is actually called “Padhiri” in TamilNadu (a southern state of India). Since it’s flesh has stringy fibers like a Beard, we call it “Dhaadi” (Tamil term for Beard), Locally. Some call it by name “Naar” (Tamil term for stringy fibers).

One of our neighbors came out to buy mango. Hearing two vendors selling two different varieties of mango, she decided which variety she wants and called “Dhaadi”. To make it more fun, the female vendor who was selling that variety moved to next street, by that time. One other neighbor who was on his way to the near by bus stop offered to help. My neighbor requested that person (Let’s call him Mr.X) to inform the “Dhaadi” to stop by her house so that she could buy some.

There is yet another common thing in our neighborhoods. If we don’t know the other person’s name but for some reason if we need to talk to them or call them, we denote him with the unique characteristics. It might be his Sun glasses (Kannaadi karar) or his shirt color…etc. So, when my neighbor mentioned Mr.X to inform “Dhaadi” (Tamil term for Beard), he thought she meant the Male vendor with the Beard. So he told the male vendor that my neighbor wants to buy his produce. But the male vendor who was watching my neighbor, calling for “Dhaadi” Mango replied with a smile to Mr.X , “She calls the one who sells ‘Dhaadi’ and not who has ‘Dhaadi'”. Oh! you should have seen Mr.X’s Face turn red in embarrassment as the poor guy had no knowledge of what happened earlier. But to his rescue, there came the voice of the Female vendor from the next street, “Dhaadi” Mango!!!! Understanding the situation, Mr.X laughed. We all joined him. Hope you too! This anecdote and the Mango Pot holder are my entry for Indira’s “Mango Manthram” Event.

Mango Potholder

To make this pot holder we need rags or pieces of cloth. We can use old T-shirts and this is a nice way to recycle them. The Method is very simple. Cut the cloth in to strips, Braid them and when you reach the end, sew more pieces and keep braiding until you reach the desired length. To achieve the desired shape, start sewing the braids on sides and shaping the braids as needed.

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A Contribution August 6, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Breakfast, Recycle.
8 comments

Meeta of what’s for lunch Honey invited us through her Monthly Mingle for a chat about saving the earth from pollutions and the way we contribute to save our environment. I am writing in this post about my small contribution towards the concept.

When I conceived my son, along with all other questions, the question about diapering the baby also came up. Though we have disposable diapers in Indian cities, most of the families in my town still use pieces of cloth to diaper their children. All of my nieces and nephews were brought up that way. Since I am the first person in the family to deliver a baby in a foreign country, choosing the way to diaper my baby was a debate. Both my parents and in-laws requested me not to “Tie paper on the baby’s bottom”. The weather and the insufficient space conditions of the place we lived, put me in dilemma that I wanted to postpone the decision till the baby was born.

During my second trimester, we visited my brother-in-laws house. My Co-sister introduced me to the world of cloth diapers. Since it seemed similar to what I was used to, I decided to diaper my baby with cloth diapers. She taught me how to sew cloth diapers and helped me with fabrics and other necessities to start with. She sewed and bought dozens of diapers to reduce my sewing efforts initially. The decision to diaper my baby with cloth diapers was made there.

The first few months usage of cloth diapers taught me a lot which helped me to design diapers for our need and way of living. Since I didn’t have time to wait for the laundry in the apartments, I hand washed and air dried the diapers. It was nearly 2 1/2 years of efforts. We brought up our son in cloth diapers until he was completely potty trained. We used disposables only during long trips.

We are so happy that the diaper waste from our family to the landfill was very less. One might think how much landfill a baby could generate. The fact is, in 2 1/2 years a baby uses 7000 – 10,000 diapers on an average!!!

Here are some pictures of the diapers and pull ups that are sewed by me.

Diapers:

diapers_unfolded

diapers_folded

Pull-ups:

Pull ups

The Dish I am presenting for the Online Potluck is : Tangy Oats

Ingredients:

1 cup Old fashioned Oats
2 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Sambar powder
2 Red chillies
1 tablespoon Peanuts
3 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Oil
1/2 teaspoon Chana dal
1/2 teaspoon Urad dal
1/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Sugar or Jaggery
1 pinch Asafetida
Few Curry Leaves
Lime sized ball of Tamarind

Method:

1. Soak the Tamarind in 2 cups of water until soft. Squeeze well and extract the water. Discard the residue.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add Mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilli and Asafetida.
3. When the Mustard seeds splutter, add the dals and peanut
4. Fry until the dal and peanuts turn golden brown.
5. Add the tamarind water and mix in salt, sambar powder and Jaggery.
6. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
7. Add the Oats to the tamarind water while stirring continuously.
8. Cook until the oats is done and absorbed all the liquid.

Tangy Oats