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Posts Tagged ‘exotic’

India – A celebration of life!

May 9, 2012 9 comments

The majestic Himalayas
kiss the azure skies
And the Ganges flow down
Blessing the land below

Bruised and bloodied
By ruthless conquerors
She stood her ground
Strong and resilient

Vibrant and chaotic
With an energy that awakens
Exotic and colourful
India – a celebration of life!

The blare of horns
The maze of daily traffic
The muezzins call
and temple chants

A creative burst
A dizzying plethora
A dazzling confluence
Of cultures and tradition

Dances and drumbeats
A riot of colours
Lights and sounds
Its festival time

A land of saints and sages
Who meditated in solitude
Seeking truth and knowledge
To free the world from ignorance

As the sun sets
The crowds disperse
And at the street-corner
A little boy greets you with a smile!

 

© copyright skm, 9th May 2012

Categories: Poetry Tags: , , , ,

Exotic spices – Saffron and Vanilla

November 22, 2011 4 comments

Today, I watched an exciting episode of “The Spice Trail” on BBC Knowledge that prompted this post.  It was interesting to see what makes spices like saffron and vanilla so exotic and special.

 

Coming from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus, it takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound which explains why it is the world’s most expensive spice.  Each saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas,which are each the distal end of a carpel.  Together with the styles, or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent. Iran
accounts with 95% of the worlds production  Spain only produces 300 kg, India, Greece, Azerbaijan, Morocco and Afghanistan produce most of the rest (in that order).

The programme showed how the Moroccans grow these flowers in small gardens and how they value it like gold.  Families collect the flowers and hand-pick the stigmas to collect the saffron which is stored in boxes and locked like a treasure.

 


The main species harvested for vanilla is vanilla planifolia. Although the vanilla plant, an orchid, is native to Mexico, it is now widely grown throughout the tropics with Madagascar being the world’s largest producer. The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first people to cultivate vanilla plants. They taught many other indigenous people how to grow vanilla plants during MesoAmerican times, and they continue to cultivate the fruit that they consider was given to them by the gods.

For more interesting reading on these spices, you may visit these links:
http://www.theepicentre.com/spices
http://orchidsasia.com/vanillaworld.htm 

 

 

Categories: General Tags: , , ,
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