Do you cook with spices?Do you have overused spice in your pantry?
I do and ane of the most used spice in my pantry is CUMIN.I want to say,i use it everyday for one thing or another but that would be wrong because we do eat leftovers here 🙂
Recently my aunt Rita,took a trip to the part of the state,Gujarat, she grew up in.She came back with pictures and tale to tell.It was fascinating to hear so i thought why don’t I tell you the story I heard ?
So,first the place where cumin is growing in India.
Little ‘Rann of Kutch‘.No it is not misspelled.It is ‘Rann‘.It means desert in ‘Gujarati’.This desert is located in a place called ‘Kutch’.
Along the way,you will notice mud and straw huts..
Historical places and house where peacock walks the roof
Scorched earth,shrubs and dusty roads
Cattle herd,who are seemingly curious to see who is stirring the peaceful monotony of desert
And the birds of the oasis in Little Rann of Kutch.You didn’t think it was all scorched earth,sand,dust and cracked mud only?Did you?We have a fair share of birds and buffaloes.
Are you wondering where is cumin among all this?Wasn’t that the post was about?…Hmmm..i am getting there..i was distracted by the beauty of the desert for a while 🙂
Cotton and Cumin is grown in this area.Cotton is big money maker of the area.
Life of cumin grower is hard.Very hard.Here is the husband and grandfather of the family camps in the night near the field.Lady of the house is to the left.Notice their makeshift little ‘tent’ .This is where the farmer sleeps at night because they cannot leave the fields alone.Their home is in the nearby village,( approx 1 hr walk).This lady is calm & with a quite strength. She too sleeps over in the fields at times.
Did you notice her head covered up with “saree” pulled bit over the head?This covering is called “Ghunghat” in Hindi. In India,daughter-in-law is suppose to cover her head and part of the face to show respect to her in-laws side of family,particularly in the rural community like this.
Why such nightout by the field,you ask?Good question.Read below.
The biggest threat to their crop:Wild Indian donkeys,which can chomp down their crop.Need to be kept away from the field by all means.
Cumin is among the OLDEST spice, civilization has known.Popular in Indian,Latin American cooking.It does well in this climate.
Now if you are thinking,how do i overuse this cumin spice?
- I season the oil with couple of cumin seeds without thinking,it is like a second nature to me while cooking.Very Indian thing to do 🙂
- To the very least I add freshly ground cumin powder to most of the savory ethnic dishes.It adds smoky flavor.
- It is a great spice to add to yogurt and beans base dips.
As sun sets down in the desert
I am taken aback by the beauty of the desert.Thankful for getting to experience it through the photos of the path i have not traveled.
Now on,whenever i use cumin,i know i will be thinking about the hardship and sacrifice of these farmers who spends night by the field in a makeshift tent,a woman who make long walk to the village possibly more then once a day and live all so humbly day by day every day in heat of desert during the day and chill of the desert night.