Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fruit and Veg

After being away for so long its time to restock the fridge but there's no fruit and vegetable stalls at each corner and my preferred farmers market is not for a few weeks! Everything was so fresh in India.

Being a cook I have always loved wandering in food markets and whilst it wasn't listed on any itinerary I managed to articulate my desire to stop whenever I spotted foods 'in the raw' for sale especially en mass. It was a delight to see not just the freshness of daily harvested fruit and vegetables but the care in presenting the produce and this all before one tastes. The flavours of ordinary carrots (not orange but RED and oh so sweet), tomatoes, cauliflower and potatoes in India transported me back to childhood when my grandparents produced most of our vegetables and many of the fruits we ate in their rather large and ever expanding garden. Grandpa's perpetual digging just kept creeping into whatever vacant adjacent land he found! And grandma cooked or preserved whatever was produced. So too in India, vegetables and fruits are preserved, there were plenty of fiery pickles to accompany my morning paratha. 

The choices were limited to winter commodities as Indian agricultural processes are predominantly regionally based and heavily influenced by the seasons, in Australia we have so much more variety but at what cost? Large scale commercial production and harvesting days, if not weeks, before we consume fruit and vegetables does not produce these wonderful flavours. Many of the meals we had did not include meat and I must say I did not yearn for it as the diversity and flavours of the plant based dishes served with plenty of pulses was so satisfying - not to mention making up for it with the abundance of seafood in Malaysia just a few weeks later!

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