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Aside

Every new academic year (in India it starts in June), I go through what is often termed as ‘starting trouble’.

I work as a resource teacher at a Montessori school, telling stories from mythology to elementary age group children.

My job involves linking topics that are part of the curriculum or current events, to mythological stories and folktales from around the world.

I absolutely love my job.

I love the fact that I learn so much through the research I need to do for each story, the imagination and creativity I need to exercise to present foreign mythology to kids aged 6-11 and the fact that I get to sing with them….story-songs, songs in other languages…..tops it all.

Yet every year, before I begin, I always wonder whether I really want to continue.

But just one class with the kids is enough to convince me that, I do.

I love their reactions, the interactions, their honesty and guilelessness.

They never fail to make me smile. It’s always a day well spent.

When I wrote the Pizza post…..‘The Need to Knead’, I remembered the most wonderful story that I tell my school kids.

This one comes from West Africa:

IYADOLA’S BABIES

Nyame the sky God was sitting bored up in the sky. So he took a basket, a big round basket, filled it with leaves and plants and trees.

He cut a curved hole in the sky so that he could push the basket out through it and he hung this basket from a cloud.

To see the basket better, he cut out a few jagged holes in the the sky.

The curved hole was the moon and the jagged ones the stars.

He enjoyed watching the blades of grass dance in the breeze, the leaves change their colour and the creepers wind their way around other plants.

But after a while this too was boring. So he took another basket and filled it with all kinds of wonderful creatures. Birds, animals, fish …..some soft and fluffy, others colorful, some huge, others minuscule, some fierce, others gentler.

He poured the contents of this basket out through the curved hole, into the first basket, The Earth.

He loved to watch the animals frolic through the cutouts in the sky.

Inside Nyame there lived two little spirit creatures. They loved to creep up to the edge of Nyame’s mouth or nose and look out onto the earth along with him.

One day while they were all watching the animals on the earth, Nyame sneezed…..a humongous Sky God sneeze!

Out tumbled the spirit man and woman, out through Nyame’s nose, through the holes in the sky and down into the earth.

Once they reached the earth they found it so different from the warmth and darkness of Nyame’s body. But soon they began to enjoy it. They loved walking on the soft grass and relaxing under the shade of a tree. They learnt to eat what they could find on the trees and bushes.

The spirit man began to make a few weapons and soon he was off hunting animals for their food, leaving behind the spirit lady in their cave home.

The spirit lady was very lonely as the spirit man never ever took her hunting.

She got a brilliant idea and told the spirit man that they should make little clay creatures that looked exactly like them. They could bake them in a fire, blow on them and make them come to life. They would be able to move and talk just like the spirit man and lady. They could be our children, she said.

The spirit man liked the idea and began to build a fire while the spirit lady moulded the clay children.

As they put the first few clay dolls into the fire and sat back to wait and see how they would come out, they heard Nyame come thundering through the trees. The spirit man and lady quickly pulled out the clay children, wrapped them in leaves and hid them under the bushes.

Nyame had just dropped by to check what the spirit people thought of the wonderful earth he had created. Then he stomped out the way he came in.

The spirit man and woman quickly made some more clay children……but as they put them in the fire, Nyame was back and they had no time to even pull them out of the fire.

‘Why are you sitting by a fire?’ asked Nyame. They mumbled something about how they were feeling cold, but as the sun was shining bright, Nyame did’nt seem convinced. As soon as Nyame left they pulled them out and wrapped them in leaves.

Every time they put more clay children into the fire, Nyame would unexpectedly pop by to check on them on some silly pretext or the other.

Finally, Nyame got hungry and went back up, to the sky.

The spirit man and woman unwrapped all the little clay children they had made. Such a variety of colours!! Some were in the fire for a very short time and so were very pale. Others had been there for too long and were dark, almost black. Then there were a whole range of different colours like yellow-brown, rosy pink, red-brown and plenty in between.

The spirit man and woman blew on these clay children and they all began to stretch out their legs and move….running around the earth.

Now the spirit lady was no longer lonely when the spirit man went hunting, her children kept her occupied.

The spirit lady would hug them all, loving each one equally.

The spirit lady is called Iyadola, which means ‘Earth Mother.’

I love this story, which explains how there are so many different skin colours in the world and the allegory that we were all baked……for different times…..but essentially all the same…..just clay, with a common Mother!!

Picture credits: http://dickinsg.intrasun.tcnj.edu/Docs/iyadola/iyadola.html

http://child-of-africa.blogspot.in/2007/09/beauty-of-human-diversity.html


Iyadola’s Babies…………A Yarn.

Aside

I cannot believe that it has been a month since I began blogging!

What started as a lark, with absolutely no plan, has panned out beautifully and I feel truly blessed.

I was new to blogging….still am, but I enjoy the lessons that it teaches me everyday.

In this one month, other than the first day, I’ve had hits on my blog everyday. Ranging from just 2 hits on a day to 165 on another and I enjoy watching the blog statistics.

It humbles me to see that visitors from countries like China, Colombia,Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Japan and Philippines stop by. Places where I do not know anybody. Thank you for seeing something in my posts that interests you and ‘liking’ my posts.

Of course family and friends from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada and the US who take time to stop by and comment …..Thank you.

To those of you who have called, messaged,mailed and commented…..thank you….I thrive in your constant encouragement.

To those who have shared my blog on FB, Pinterest, Twitter…..please keep doing so, you guys have driven many more to my blog. Thank you and Mwah ❤

To my fellow bloggers,  I know you only through your writing, and you, me, through mine.

Although its only been a month I can see a little circle forming, each of us encouraging the other.

To me this is the most profound part of blogging.

The ability to see and appreciate the beauty of another’s writing, approach, humor and candor, is  all encompassing…..bringing out appreciation, encouragement, awe and inspiration.

 This was nothing I could ever imagine as a non-blogger.

I thank you all again and again…….

But here I need to mention:

Deeba Rajpal of   Passionate about Baking.  The fact that an Indian living in India could have  such a beautiful blog was inspiring. Deeba very kindly answered my questions about recipe copyrights and I was on my way. Check out her blog for fabulous recipes and food photographs.

Thank you Deeba.

Aarti Mahesh, who’s casual comment, urging me to start a blog, wormed it’s way into my head and stayed there gnawing away till I did start.

My sister Mary-Lou who sent out a zillion emails to every one she knew telling them about my blog…..I’m sure she was single handedly responsible for  the 165 hits on day 5.

Sindu Sanjith…..I guess I could call you my most ardent follower…..Thank you for trying out so many of my recipes and posting them on FB…..I truly appreciate the effort.

Charmaine, Kuki….you too, your posts brought me many more hits.

My son J who helps me with the photo’s, an amazing creative writer, he is also my critic.

My hubby V and daughter D who put up with my late nights at the computer and patiently wait for their meal while I get the photo’s done!!

My parents who have instilled in me this love for food…….all my foodie knowledge was picked up by osmosis at home.

My Mama has also tried really hard to figure out the computer just to read my blogs!

There are so many of you to name…..so I will stop here….but THANK YOU ,THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Today is also the day MOJO   started…….Mostly Organic by Jo.

Every Monday I bake mostly organic goodies which friends and family can pick up.

 Today we had Wholewheat Carrot and Apple Cupcakes and Mix fruit and nut Oatmeal Cookies.

Thanks to every one who did order and appreciated my products.

I’m happy to say that we supplied Redwood Montessori School who are committed to offering their children fresh organic produce.

June 11th 2012…..MWAAH!

A Month since JosMojo……and a new beginning….MoJo

Aside

If you had to ask me what my favourite cuisines are, I would have to really think.

Coz I love all food, I love variety. 

I thank my lucky stars that my palate was exposed to a great variety from the time I was quite young and so am very willing to try anything new. 

But if I just HAD to, they would be Japanese, Cantonese, South East Asian and Mediterranean.

As you can see Japanese comes way up.

However, I do not cook it nor do I profess to have eaten a whole variety.

 But a platter full of sushi and sashimi always hits home.

I love its simplicity and wholesomeness.

The dominance of fish and sea food of all kinds!

The SEE food as well!

What I mean is that Japanese food is so pretty.

There is so much effort taken in the presentation that it’s hard to dig in!

Of late I have been reading a lot about FUGU.

What is it?

FUGU means, quite literally in Japanese, Pacific Ocean Native  fish.

I was familiar with it as ‘Puffer Fish’ or ‘Blow Fish’.


Eating Fugu is kind of like a gourmet Russian Roulette.

The skin, ovaries, testicles, eyes and especially the liver is extremely poisonous.

The poison ‘tetrodotoxin’ has no known antidote and is more than a 1000 times more poisonous than cyanide.

Yet this fish is considered a delicacy in Japan.

Chefs need to have licenses to just cut the Fugu to ensure that their skillful cutting does away with all the poison.

It is said that if a Fugu chef serves a piece that kills his patron, it is honourable that the chef disembowel himself. 

 JEEZ!!!

These guys spend 10 years of their life just in training!!!!

Seems like Russian Roulette and Fugu go hand in hand! Even with the chefs lives!!

Confidence is definitely a quality required if your ambition is to be a Fugu Chef!!

Well, the best part is, that the slivers of Fugu Sashimi are ironically served in the arrangement of a chrysanthemum, the national flower of Japan but also the flower of choice at Japanese funerals!!

YIKES!!!

Now apparently the ‘in’ thing is for the chefs to leave in just a trace amount of poison so that fugu connoisseurs can feel a numbness on their lips and tongue and just flirt with the danger!

Is the flavor of the fish so unique that this danger is worth it?

Apparently there are mixed reactions.

But as I think about Fugu, I think about all the things I’d love to do!

Skydiving, Bungee jumping, tight rope walking…..but have absolutely no guts to.

But one CAN dream!!

So if someone gifted me an @ 300$ Fugu meal…..well I’d definitely be looking for the exchange policy.

Could I trade that in for a meal at ‘The Fat Duck’ or ‘Noma‘ ……PLEEEAZE????

What about you?

Are you DYING to try FUGU????

To Fugu or not to Fugu? Would you?— Foodie Gyans and yarns-2