After using the final spoon of my cardamom coffee, and knowing my one supplier of the blend had given up trying to import it, I resorted to good old Kiwi ingenuity. Yesterday I haunted an Indian shop in search of good quality cardamom pods. They were located within seconds; but walking into an Indian spice shop is much easier than walking out. My poor husband had to tolerate my "oohs" and "aahs" as I wandered around the shelves, floating in memory heaven.
There sat Iglee flour to make the S. Indian doughy flying saucers - stuff that turns to wallpaper paste in inexperienced English fingers, Parachute coconut hair oil (guaranteed in Mumbai's atmosphere to transform your hair into polluted, grimy dreadlocks if you didn't wash it out properly), sandalwood talcum powder prompting memories of the crowded ladies’ compartment on the commuter trains, Gullab jaman, sticky gluey divine spheres bobbing in a bowl next to the cash desk, chappati pans and rolling pins, masala chai mix, incense sticks burning (just like my local grocer at Grant Road who also sold yoghurt “curd” in plastic carrier bags).
Squeezing into the crowded interior, I was propelled to Bahrain’s old souq. There at the back of the store stood towers of aluminium cooking pots, some enough to feed up to one hundred people – oh you know, the usual recipe, “Take one camel and marinade until tender….” A curtain covered a door to the store room – I so wanted it to be the Arabic version of Narnia – If I pushed through the fabric would I be transported to the Bab al Bahrain and Baraa’s uncle’s jewellery store next to the fabric souq?
All this just because I wanted to drink spicy coffee. Cheaper than an air ticket I suppose.