Our most distinct memories with our grandmothers would be with her food. Her special sambar bubbling over the fire, fried delicacies whose recipes only she knows, and a kitchen that always smelled like something was cooking.
Most of us would remember the retro days, with bell-bottomed pants and high-waisted everything. There was the disco, antique cars and colourfully discoloured tawas in the kitchens. But now, like high-waisted jeans, retro kitchens too are making their way back into our homes. Pure iron tawas and brass coffee filters are what everyone’s looking for. These utensils, along with the benefit of adding aesthetic, adds flavour to what we cook.
That ‘extra special taste’ of our grandmothers' cooking comes from the vessels she used. The earthen materials capture a little bit of the essence of the meal that’s cooked, and passes it on to the next dish that’s made in it.
These utensils are making a huge comeback. Since these kitchenwares are made from all-natural products, they can last up to 50 years, easily, and contribute to healthy and environmental-friendly lifestyles.
As this is a fairly new trend, not many people know about the added health benefits of using products made of clay, brass, iron, soapstone etc. A lot of people know there are several health benefits, but not exactly what they are. There is scientific proof that prolonged usage of these wares have actually prevented the usage of supplements and tablets for deficiencies and illnesses. Iron increases iron content in food, soapstone is rich in calcium, and clay and brass diminish high acidic levels of food with their alkaline nature.
“We spoke to many grandmothers who have lived healthy, holistic lifestyles and we realised that a lot of it was contributed by their kitchen”, says Archish Mathe, who is part of a irm that sells traditional cookware.
A lot of companies follow the belief that industrially manufactured products won’t hold the knowledge that gets passed down in rural artisan families, who have been in this business for eight to 10 generations. “With the sudden influx of people buying traditional products, we can actually see a huge impact on them - artisans who’d long given up on this is coming back to their roots.”
For most people, with these products bringing back an old world charm, they’re focussing on it helping the environment. “I’ve been slowly switching from steel and aluminium to earthen pots and pans like the ones my mother uses. They’re extremely healthy, environment friendly, and also adds to the taste of the food” says Nimita Azeez, a school teacher. Shyna Rayeez, entrepreneur, also agrees with this statement, adding that slow cooking in these vessels really captures the essence of the food and keeps the nutrients intact.
— Tinaz Nawaz