The role of the Indian home kitchen is very important – it is the soul of an Indian home and it used to be considered the sanctum sanctorum of the Indian household. Food is an integral part of Indian culture as in most cultures, and plays an important role in the family life and in the festival celebrations. In fact, most Indian families still sit down together to enjoy their meals.
An Indian kitchen stores spices, herbs, oils, grains, pulses, uses the mortar and pestle, matkas, bharanis, degchis, pakkads and tawas etc, which have kept the Indian cuisine alive and also popularised it all over the world. The Indian cuisine is an amalgamation of different cooking styles and tastes of its different regions, and has been changing over the years.
Along with the ingredients, it is the usage of unique utensils, items, kitchen helpers, that has brought in the Indian identity. But slowly change has crept in and the Indian home kitchens have undergone a metamorphosis into sleek, chic, modern presentations. Some, products, processes, beliefs, have been replaced, though still carrying along whiffs and remainders of the past. These changes are less visible in rural homes and middle income urban homes as compared to higher income urban homes.
A study of some of these interesting, and uniquely designed Indian kitchen products, beliefs, enrich one’s understanding of a facet of Indian culture and also its identity. The following pages take one through such a journey where some old, some new kitchen products which are a part of our daily lives are briefly explained.