With each passing year I find that I become more accepting of where I’ve come from. The traditions that I once vehemently fought against, most times simply for the sake of defiance, are beginning to feel natural. Even though I’ve always been a great lover of Indian cuisine, I find myself unlocking thoughts about cooking, ingredients and tradition that I’ve either taken for granted or would’ve traded for the likes of more mainstream food heritage instead of appreciating what I had in front of me. I do love growing up.
In a recent Taste Magazine, Sam Woulidge interviewed Giovanni, of deli slash foodie heaven fame in Green Point, Cape Town. She retold a charming story about Giovanni’s grandmother who had brought a Basil plant from her village in Italy. Each branch of that family has now got a piece of the original plant growing in their gardens. I love these types of stories because it proves just how interconnected we all are in this seemingly independent world.
I thought of Giovanni’s basil tree story when my mum asked me to get some Curry Leaves from the garden. The tree is a descendant of my grandmothers plant and whilst cooking with three generations of women, I felt a deep sense of belonging.
The Curry Leaf or Sweet Neem Leaf is indigenous to India and used in almost all curry recipes. Like the name suggests, it adds a sweet, earthy note to dishes, which I can’t quite explain. All I know is that without it, a curry doesn’t quite taste the way that it should.
Anyway, I have, yet again, brought mother-grown curry leaves that are 100% organic and drying on a piece of paper towel right this minute. It feels as thought I put a piece of familial goodness into every meal!