Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Memories And Clay Oven

 

Winter  is still mild here.Temperature  is swinging from 14 to 20.Sun is comforting and  breeze is cherishing .I did laundry  last day while hubby was painting the veranda fence .He is home due to lockdown so he manages to pull out some piece of work to full his day and to lessen the pending chores .During days like this i miss my parents more .Our village is in the foothill of  Himalayan so weather was unlike here in south. In our hill top house there,winters were long ,harsh and wet often.

 Though sunny days were  most  beautiful gift during cold weather.People  of my village would love to take sun bath meanwhile .Families will sit in yard and enjoy hot drinks like milk or green tea ,soups and dishes that have gravy.I was fond of  potato and peas with gravy .My sister would love fried stuff more than anything .Mom would love chicken and vegetable soup.Boiled eggs and traditional  deep fry food like samosas and pakoras had special place during whole winter season.

Sitting together under sun in front yard ,having chat  over favorite food while viewing the beauty of surroundings was something most special for me as daughter of the house where parents hardly talk pleasantly .My father would love to eat butter everyday with fresh hot tortilla from oven .My both parents liked to have hot meals .They would not touch if food got cold.That would annoy them .When i was in my late teens i would try to bake bread in our clay oven.

  image is help from google images though our clay oven looked exactly like this one ,but the bigger hole on right was not existed .huge bundle of sticks brought by various members of family was put into it ,fire would take almost twenty minutes and when woods were burnt down and turned into coals ,mom would sit on place made with oven like here in this image ,never found anything more delicious ten hot bread from clay oven, now gas oven are available but bread they bake is less tastier than that from clay oven. Sometime due to hurry mom would cut down veggies ,put oil and all ingredients and spices including splash of water and place it on coals in oven when bread was baked ,she would take the pot out after sometime and most tasty dish was ready to eat.She would bury potato or brinjal in oven coals and take them out ,peal them and make dish with them ,specially crushed brinjal were so delicious after being baked in oven.

It was impossible for me to stick raw bread in the hot oven with bare hands.I would make  them fall often on coals instead .Therefore mom made me a cushion upon which i would  lay my bread and then slap it on the wall of oven .Sometimes bread would slip even from my cushion before i slap it and my sister would laugh loud .Mom would smile and say i must have an extra bag of flour to teach you how to bake bread in the oven. 

Clay oven was also  a good place for socializing. Village women specially neighbors would agree to lit one oven combinedly.They both would combine their sticks to lit oven together  and while baking bread they would chat or gossip a lot .It was popular fashion back then.Sometimes  if  one woman is already tired and has no will to lit her oven she would send her dough to another relative or friend, and she would bake bread for her .Mom would do the same though she would bake for others more ,she was one of the most compassionate woman i ever saw.

Sometimes clay oven would cast sadness to mom.My father was a watch maker in Islamabad ,He would visit for one or two days us to drop money for household.But he would never bring sticks to lit the oven.That was reason mom would be sad when she had to go on hills and gather sticks or send us to do so.We both sister had collected sticks for oven before when we were ten or eleven,later we were not allowed to go out so mom would do it by herself. It would happen when my eldest brother was in army for few years.Before that he would bring huge bundles of sticks from densely wooded hills around .He would bring heaviest bundle  of the sticks among all other fellow friends who would accompany him.His sticks would last for weeks .When he left army abruptly mom was broke with trauma.One of her son was died in thirteenth year of his age.She had only one son who could not studied well because of his weird stubborn nature ,She was happy that he would make his career in army atleast but this dream of her also broken unfortunately.I remember she was called by his officers from Quetta  city (capital of Baluchistan province) by mail.She went all the way by train  to correct his life.When she arrived their one officer told her that  mam your son is our best soldier we have.He comes first in each test always but one thing that he is weirdly stubborn and misbehaves sometimes and disobey  which is not tolerable in army service.They ask her to convince him to not leave army as his has no reason or mis fitness so if he would insist he will be court martial.My brother did not agree and stayed in prison for months.

Long story short when he returned he was more focused on marriage .He hardly brought such big bundle of sticks for our clay oven.Mom had been growing various trees in our yard which were able to provide sticks for oven once in while .Sometimes some of my cousin would deliver us sticks so we can lit oven .We had clay stove too  like all other village houses.


clay stove would consume less feul so mom started to prefer it later as she had lesser energy for scrolling hills for sticks .

I am still of opinion that food cooked on clay stove or oven is tastier .And yes mom had clay pots too in which food would taste heavenly believe me ,mustard green with mutton or chicken  cooked in clay pot  are unforgettable dishes and so many others,tortilla stuffed with radish or cauliflower and i can go on for hour may be :)

Today hubby called some village friends so they can trim the neem tree .They have just left .I was enjoying to share my treasure of memories with you but i will have to off for making lunch now  as it is 1 pm noon now .I can see lots of sunlight playing in my yard now since tree is trimmed .

See you soon friends! Keep treating yourself and all around you with love and kindness as this is best version of you i bet :)

blessings to all of you!

22 comments:

  1. That was so interesting about your clay stove and how you cook in them. It is wonderful to learn other’s customs and it brings a better understanding between us all.

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  2. Fascinating info about clay ovens! I love naan bread! It is so good fresh and hot from an oven (here, in restaurants, of course).

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  3. I enjoyed learning about your clay oven and its delicious food! Your mom was a strong fine lady.

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  4. The clay oven would be a delight to cook on or in. We can buy Naan bread in the store but it is not very good. Enjoy your day.

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  5. I'll bet the bread from the clay oven was tasty. My grandmother used cooking stove that used wood for fuel. She made the best bread I ever ate.

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  6. I'll bet the bread made in the clay oven was so tasty. My grandmother used a cooking stove that burned wood. She made the best bread I have ever tasted.

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  7. The clay oven is fascinating to read about, Baili. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Such an interesting post Baili, I enjoyed it very much.
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  9. I also like food that comes from an oven. I've never had food from a clay oven. We did have a wood burning stove long ago but my Dad wood cut loads of wood and bring it home. Later on we sawed it so that it would go in the stove. It was the job of little kids to bring wood in the house every day.

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  10. Great post Bali. I am not sure that I have ever had anything from a clay oven. The food sounds as if it comes good. I would like to try the bread.

    Your post has made me hungry :)

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  11. Interesting about your clay pots and your memories.
    You life back then so different from mine.
    Take care.

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  12. Nowadays is very difficult to cook so slowly.
    The speed of life doesn't allow it.

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  13. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing your memories.

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  14. I imagine the food and bread cooked in the clay ovens tasted wonderful. That was good to read about cooking in them with your family and to hear some of your family story. I do love naan bread hot and fresh from the oven, which we would only get in restaurants here in California.

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  16. That was so interesting about the clay stove, I love outdoor cooking. My father once built an outdoor stove - though not from clay - to smoke fish, as my mother wouldn't let him do it in the house.
    Amalia
    xo

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  17. I loved this post, Baili - I have eaten food from a clay oven like this when I have been on my travels, we always thought one day we would like to have one if we have a big space :) It's so interesting to read about how you use it properly and the memories that kind of cooking has given you to look back on happily.

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  18. wow , thanks so much for this written post on the ovens you used and other tidbits about your life - and then about the family. I would definitely read an autobiography by you if there ever was one written. Love your post.

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  19. You have such an interesting family history! I always enjoy hearing about it.

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  20. What an interesting post, I enjoyed reading here.

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  21. Grata poe partilhar tão significativas lembranças, Baili!
    Adorei ficar a saber, sobre a tradição desses fogões! Vivendo eu em apartamento, na cidade, tudo se processa de outra forma... mas não duvido que os fogões a lenha e a loiça d barro, produzam os melhores cozinhados e sabores... presentes aliás, em muitas regiões do interior do nosso país, mais rurais... e onde o tempo, continua a correr em um ritmo bem diferente...
    Um beijinho! Bom fim de semana!
    Ana

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