Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Week 3: Snow days and Turmeric Milk

I saw the latest cover of The New Yorker magazine (by the brilliant Roz Chast) in the mailbox yesterday and laughed out loud. Last Wednesday our Southern town was colder than Fairbanks, Alaska, so the cartoon definitely resonated with me.

Last week looked like this-
Monday: MLK day, no school
Tuesday: Normal
Wednesday: Snow day and streets are icy, town shuts down
Thursday: Snow day again as many streets stay impassable
Friday: Hobbling back to normal

After this unsettled week of entertaining restless house-bound children, I am feeling under the weather. Not sick enough to take time off and not well enough to go about the day energetically- just sort of listless and achy and tired from coughing.

This sort of seasonal crud calls for a good old home remedy- haldi doodh or turmeric milk, now appealingly labeled as golden milk. I can't say I love the taste of it, but it does a sore throat good. I spotted a recipe for turmeric milk mix in a grocery store flier- ground turmeric mixed with coconut oil and spices, stored in a jar ready to be mixed into warm milk. It is convenient to use, and turmeric dissolves better in oil than it does directly in milk. The warm spices offset the somewhat bitter taste of copious amounts of turmeric. Be warned that in addition to being a wonderful spice, turmeric is a very effective dye and will stain clothes if you're not careful.

Turmeric Milk Mix

In a small saucepan, warm 1/4 cup coconut oil.
Stir in 1/4 cup ground turmeric, 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger and a tsp. or so each of  cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and let the spices infuse for a couple of minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/4  cup sugar and additional 1/4 cup coconut oil. Stir well, pour into a small jar and store in the fridge.

 The mix is great, but does set up solid in the fridge, so to use it, either warm it gently or just scrape off as much as you need.


To make a cup of turmeric milk, heat a cup of your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk (I prefer almond milk), stir in 1 tsp. honey and 1-2 tsp. turmeric milk mix. Sip away!


* * * 

On my bed-side table this week is a novel, House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, borrowed from a friend who recommended it. The story is told from the viewpoint of two people- an Iranian immigrant and a young troubled housekeeper- who are fighting over a house, a small bungalow in California. So far it has been an interesting, if bleak, read.

Image: Goodreads

In our mother-daughter book club, we are reading Enid Blyton's The Enchanted Wood, a fantastic story of three children who climb up the Faraway Tree inhabited by fairy folk that reaches up to magical lands at the very top. I was thrilled to find this copy from the '80s at a used book sale for our home library.

What are you reading these days?

22 comments:

  1. Dear Nupur,
    Every now and then you write something that shakes me out of my stupor and forces me to write to you right away (I STILL haven't finished the long mail I've been writing to you). Please come over to Berlin with L and you can feed off my Enid Blyton stash for almost a year - I guarantee you! I'd be delighted to be an honorary member of the mother-daughter book club (do aunts count?) in exchange for The Enchanted Wood, Magic Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair, many Famous Fives and Secret Sevens... I read little else other than Enid Blyton (and some classics) for a better part of my school years.

    I wish I were a little kid ready to discover the thrills of Enid Blyton all over again.... Lucky L! I'm reading some short stories by Ruskin Bond these days, again having been reminded of him by my nephew :)

    I wish both of you many hours of joyful reading!

    Love,
    Shoots :)

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    1. Dear Shoots- I hereby elect you an honorary member of the mother daughter club!! I didn't know you have a whole Enid Blyton STASH?? :) Berlin, here I come!

      There's a whole world of wonderful children's lit out there and it has been so much fun discovering it with Lila- since I had a very limited availability of books as a kid.

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  2. Nupur, two of my loved things! Turmeric - I buy fresh and grate enough for one use, add EVO, pepper, salt and a squeeze of lemon in the morning to which I add a chopped banana and enjoy this taste explosion before I have coffee. Admittedly our winters are much milder compared with yours, but I did not get sick last winter. And Enid Blyton!! Brought back happy memories of my childhood and my boys' childhood too. Enjoy the rest of winter, we are enjoying our summer and I'm reading a Marathi book that a friend loaned me, it is Lata Mangeshkar's story in her own words. Very fascinating.

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    1. Dear Shubha, fresh turmeric and banana with lemon and pepper? That sounds like a very unusual combination of flavors indeed! Lata Mangeshkar's autobiography must be a fascinating read.

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  3. Don't miss the reference to Google buns in The Magic Faraway Tree!

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    1. I'm waiting for that reference! I just saw your post about it :)

      https://niranjana.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/google-buns/

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  4. I actually like the taste of haldi doodh, I just do haldi and sugar but your concoction looks interesting too.
    I just finished reading The Lovely Bones. It was alright. I'm now reading The Handmaid's Tale, it's been interesting so far. My daughter is 8 and just started the Harry Potter series. Found the complete set at Costco and couldn't resist. I also recently ordered the Faraway Tree series from Amazon but will take 20 days to deliver because it will ship from the UK, wonder why Enid Blyton is not popular in the US.

    -Anu

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    1. Anu- I read The Lovely Bones a couple of years ago and thought it was just OK too. Handmaid's Tale is on my TBR list but I know it will be a bleak read. What fun that your daughter is reading Harry Potter! I am excited to rediscover it with Lila a few years from now. You are right- Enid Blyton is not popular in the US at all- more popular in the British colonies and one of the few authors we had access to, growing up. I was pleasantly surprised to find nice copies of 2 books from the Faraway Tree series for a dollar each at the library book sale- they are difficult to find.

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    2. That's a steal and a lucky find indeed! Do watch the movie the House of Sand and Fog, I never read the book but, the lead actors did a good job with their roles.

      -Anu

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  5. OMG! The Enchanted Woods was my favorite book and ofcourse Enid Blyton was my favorite author. I got he whole Faraway series for my son and he is hooked. Although the references to foods do not make sense to him. I am trying to get him to read Secret Seven and Famous Five, but he is not into it yet. I am rigt now reading IQ84 by Murakami. It is a really loong book but interesting. I like the idea of making the turmeric paste. I know what you mean with feeling down but not enough to stay home. I feel like most of my winter is like this. Hope you feel better soon!

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    1. Sangeetha- Oh the Enid Blyton foods! She was the food blogger of kid lit with the tomato sandwiches and ginger buns and so on.

      So many of my friends love Murakami but I am yet to read any of his books. Hope you have a healthy and happy winter!

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  6. I just had dinner with some friends of mine, in which they extolled the virtues of turmeric milk for joint pain. I tried to make it with dried turmeric and had a hard time finishing it, so today I picked up some fresh turmeric and ginger in the hope it will be less bitter.

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    1. It is a bit of an acquired taste perhaps, and some spices, honey and using not a whole lot of turmeric might help to make it a tastier drink!

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  7. Ah! Enid Blyton, the source of joy in my childhood. I still love reading these books and I have this series. I’ve read them to my son. This and Mr. galliano’s circus, wishing chair, children at green meadows, mr. meddle (?), the school series, adventure ones.... these are truly the best!
    By the way, did you notice, the newer reprints of the book have slight changes made, the names are changes ( Franny- instead of Fanny. Cousin Rick instead of Dick, Dame Snap, instead of Dame Slap - who used to slap the naughty pixies sent to her school- now she Snaps her fingers angrily, Pooh!)
    The money ( earlier books had kids thinking in pennies - now the amounts have gone up- inflation!)
    It’s still all fun!
    I also have Dr. dolittle and Mary Poppins , they are fun to read too.

    The turmeric milk thing is a staple in my kitchen- but not the way you made it. I usually add some fresh grated ginger and turmeric and some sugar to milk and boil it well. I give it to my son during winter. Earlier I used to add a clove, a cardamom, saffron, but he likes the ginger - haldi better. I’m ok with anything, so long as he drinks it ;)

    Take care and hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Hi Manasi- There's been a lot of censorship of Enid Blyton's books in recent years- Dame Slap's physical hitting replaced by Dame Snap etc. Blyton was a product of her time and some of the words and references she used seem quaint and even borderline offensive now, but personally I am very much on the side of NOT censoring or altering texts but leaving them as they are and using them as a conversation starter if they offend you or your kids. Agree with you 100%, they are still fun to read even after the passage of decades!

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  8. I found it amusing that folks like the NYT took our humble haldi-doodh that we have been doing for eons and wrote about it as a fancy turmeric latte, nupur :)

    I'm reading a collection of writing by Indian women, called 'Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories'
    by Mitchell Catriona. Has some great perspectives and insights of what being a woman entails in India.

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    1. Hamsini- it is fun to see the world discovering old home remedies, indeed, and discovering the fascinating world of spices that we were lucky to grow up with!

      I am bookmarking Walking Towards Ourselves and will look for it- thanks for mentioning it.

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  9. I love Enid Blyton, and her Famous five series used to be my favorite growing up. So much so, me and 3 of my cousins had our own "secret club" and we used to go around in our neighborhood on our bicycles looking out for adventures and mysteries to solve! It is because of these books, I always wanted to own a caravan and go around in the country side cooking yummy food on camping stoves. lol.
    Currently reading : Thinking Fast and Slow

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    1. Neha- What great memories! Book can open to door to so many imaginative activities for kids. And I do hope you get to go camping in a caravan some day soon :)

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  10. Ah, turmeric! It is my go-to spice for everything. I have a mild skin condition which would flare up every six months or so, typically during my periods. Sadly, my suffering would be alleviated by only antibiotics. That was until I saw a show on TV where they described my symptoms accurately. I then started taking a couple of tsps of turmeric with warm water first thing each morning and wonder of wonders, I rarely have a flare up these days. I suffered terribly during my teen years due to this (such embarrassment to add to the pain) and wish I had known of it earlier.

    Aside, as with last year I have dutifully taken up your sugar-free challenge this year too. And roped in a few others including my other half (haha! why should he have all the pudding?). Are you doing it this year?

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    1. Ammani- How cool that you found a home remedy that works so well! I remember all those yellow turmeric based skin creams. And my mom would make us face packs with besan, cream, lemon juice and turmeric. The whole "skin whitening" aspect was a total bummer and made me angry, but in truth this is quite a good face mask.

      I'm not doing the sugar free challenge this year, mostly because I don't need to. It is not that I have cut out all sugar but I really eat very little of it these days anyway, and only when I choose to, as in, I don't automatically reach for sweets. Good for you for roping in your spouse- and good luck for your sugar-free month!!

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  11. As a kid, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and hardy Boys were my favorites. The neighborhood library had limited supplies of these books and a bunch of kids usually used to run to the library during holidays; often each of us taking different paths to see who'd reach first to grab these books :-) Fun days. I haven't seen any kids read these books here in US; not even my son. He reads a lot but not keen on these. :-(
    My mom used to give us turmeric ,ilk with black pepper and salt boiled for few mins to soothe an itchy achy throat. I've never heard of your version; will def. have to give it a try.

    Thanks for bringing back those wonderful childhood memories with your post...
    Meena.

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