Getting to grips in the kitchen

 

Just in case you have not got one in your kitchen, here is an implement that is extensively used in Indian kitchens and tea stalls.

The sandasi (pronounced roughly like ‘sun-er-see’ said fast), which is is also known as a pakad (from the verb ‘to hold’ in Hindustani) or a chimta (from the verb ‘to pinch’ in Hindustani), is essentially a pair of sturdy hinged metal (stainless steel) tongs. The handles of the implement are several times as long as the gripping elements. This means that quite heavy things may be lifted with the beaks of the tongs without any risk of them slipping out of their grip.

The sandasi’s long handles also mean that the user’s hands can be kept at a safe distance from the hot cooking vessels that are lifted with this pair of tongs. For example, the tea maker can lift and manipulate with ease the huge pots containing several litres of a bubbling, boiling mixture of milk, tea, and spices. 

I find the sandasi very useful for gripping the edges of large casseroles when I am stirring hot food like stews or curries.

Cooking tongs are, of course, available in countries other than India, but the sturdy construction and long handles of the sandasis have much to reccommend them.

The first fly

Fly on wood

 

The first fly of this year flew into my room just after the short warm spell we had in London over the Easter weekend. It was not the first fly that I have seen this year because the first couple of months of this year I spent in India. However, the fly in question, which arrived in late April, was the first fly that has tried to annoy me in London.

Although its buzzing and endless fly-passes can become annoying, there is another sensation that seeing and hearing the insect evokes in me. It reminds me of summer, a season I love. So, despite it annoying me, seeing this first plump fly also makes me joyful and gives me the feeling that warm, long bright days are not far off in London.