Shri Jasnath Asan, Rajasthan, India
Photo © Shri Jasnath Asan, 2016
1 JAN 2017
My New Years morning was spent at a farm near Phalodi about, two hours drive northwest of the Ashram. There I sat on a rug, on a concrete floor, helping the women make lunch ... and enjoyed every minute of it.
Do to my limited Rajasthani cooking skills, I was relegated to the “peeling garlic and shucking peas duty” which I believe I truly excelled at. The best part of the morning though, was watching one of these women prepare sogra and then expertly cooking it over a wood and dung fire. Such perfect delicious food coming from humble surroundings. Rajasthan never disappoints me.
The story of our lunch time sogra began the day before on New Years Eve. When Guruji and I got there the women were in the courtyard of the house carefully cleaning the millet of any little stone or stick that had found its way into the bag of seed before the they ground it into flour.
I met this ground flour again the next morning on New Years Day. I wandered into the kitchen and found the women all gathered in there busy tending pots and cutting up vegetables for a nice subje of some delicious sort, and cooking sogra.
There was such an elegant poetry in watching practiced hands expertly rolling the dough into a ball, adding just the right amount of flour or water to get the proper consistency, then expertly flattening, and patting it into, what we, in southwest United States and Mexico, would call a thin tortilla.
This thin flatbread was placed in a flat pan, above the open fire and allowed to cook. The woman’s hands continued their dance of grace and beauty, as the flatbread was cared for and tended to. The bread was flipped several times then, when cooked to perfection, it was exposed to the flames of the fire for a final mild roasting or toasting to bring out every gram of flavor. The ashes were blown off and the sogra was ready for our meal
The ingredients were simple; millet flour, water, a little salt, and sometimes a little ghee, but the result of the work by these amazing woman in a simple kitchen, was a delicious, nutritious, thick, crunchy millet flat bread that I enjoyed with my meal on New Years day in Rajasthan, half way around the world from home.
They made it feel like home here too.
Panchla Siddha, India
Sharon K. Schafer
I paint, photograph, and speak about wild places in an act of reciprocity that is as vital to me as heartbeat or breath.
My interest in the magic and mystery of the natural world lies at the intersection of art and science.
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