Known to mankind as far back as Ancient Egypy, these pillowy soft confections are perhaps one of my all time favorite candies.
Sadly, as many things that go ruined as the Industrial Revolution took grip on our world, the marshmallow of yesteryear lost its sparkle. I have resigned myself to only having an occasional magical moment with marshmallows. They are rare and without much frequency at all.
Yesterday, we visited our favorite haunt in Delhi, Dhoomimal Art Center, the foremost galley showcasing and selling the artworks created by India's foremost artists. That the galley is owned by my dearest school friend, Mohit Jain, only adds to the overall joy of this experience. We also end up collecting art that is dreamy, inspiring and enriching our experience of living in our home.
Each visit to Mohit's galley also brings with it at least a few culinary delights. One being the Aloo Chaat (potato chaat a version of which is shared using sweet potatoes instead in American Masala) that is sold by a street-side vendor at the corner of his block (A Block - Connaught Place) and of course confections from Wengers, one of Delhi's most famous pastry shops. That had its prime in the early 20th century. My parents frequented it for tea and cream puffs and chocolate eclairs. My grandfather (Nana, maternal grandfather) was a fan. As were my parents.
My life in the US and my travels as I began my journey after leaving home in India, exposed me to foods from around the world in new light. Some of my joy around food in India, changed after this new beginning. Some foods that I had loved in my childhood became foods I found no love for, and some became even more special and precious to me.
As I have lived in the US for almost two decades, in reflection I find that I question the wow-factor of foods prepared in Indian restaurant settings a lot more today, and I crave, celebrate and worship the food of the Indian home even more than I ever did. Even finding love for dishes that I once did not enjoy at all, perhaps even abhorred, as stong as this sounds.
Yesterday, as I saw the marshmallows at Wengers, I found myself wanting to buy them for the sake of old times. Then eating one even before the attending clerk at the pastry shop could close the box, gave me pride in my decision. I was shocked, I was struck that not all has failed in the world of prepared foods and retail foods.
This morning, I find myself eating the marshmallows with great glee. Even thinkig of how if I were a talented writer, a poet, I could pen a poem to the magic of this simple and delightful delight.
But I am ordinary and mortal me, not one gifted with the art of playing with words. And so, I shall simply tell you that food has a way of teaching us lessons. I learned from these amazing marshmallows that not all changes as life evolves. Somethings can remain what they were, even as much around them changes.
There is always hope....