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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016


Pratima Balabhadrapathruni
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

A Tale of Two Kitchens

Grandpa was a gourmet, an expert on cooking with mangoes. Mangoes from everywhere in India arrived via the railroad. Grandma’s pantry was a mango factory. Our kitchen smelled like love stuffed into mangoes.

Saigal’s voice
on the old phonograph—
the crackle of papadums

Back then, I had an ongoing romance with food. This was before I realized perfect women are supposed to sport perfectly small waists. How many things I wanted to eat. How many no-nos issued out of me . . .

drifting away
on kapok clouds . . .

Housed now as I am in middle years, I have become the quintessential kigo-girl of the kitchen. I bring China, Italy, Spain, Gujarat, Kerala, France and even Swiss Muesli into my pantry. A world of acceptance has stamped itself around my middle.

the Indian summer
of his eyes —
a crinkled world map

Author's Note:

Saigal: K.L. Saigal, a great singer from the black and white era of Bollywood.

Pappadums: something like nachos but made from lentils. Part of every south Indian meal.

Kapok: also called Silk Cotton in India. When the pods burst, it is almost like pollen in the air.



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