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30 July, 2017

Sil Patta: Indian grinding stone. A step backward?

Comments : 3 Posted in : Gadgets, Kitchen on by : Ratna

Moving  forward  has  always  been  the  trend,  and  now  is  no different,  but  does  that  mean  we  forget  the  past?

Our  lives  are  always  on  ” full  speed  ahead ”  mode.  We  need equipment  that  help  us  to  do  more  things  in  less  time.  Bulk production  with  multi  tasking  has  become  the  norm  and  I do  not  disagree  with  any  of  these.

Sometimes  I  wonder  though,  where  are  we  heading  at  this breakneck  speed?  Will  we  be  happy  when  we  reach  our destination?  Or  are  we  then  being  nostalgic  for  the  good old  days,  and  a  little  peace  and  quiet?  (Surprised  to  find  out that  “grandma”s  ways  made  so  much  sense)

Kitchen  gadgets  are  a  multi  million  dollar  industry.  Cutting, shredding,  mixing,  spiralizing,  slicing,  kneading,  pulsing,  and grinding… I  could  go  on  and  on  but  you  get  the  point. Despite  these  I  have  always  been  drawn  to  the  past;  the indigenous  ways.

The  Sil- patta  is  a  grinding  stone  that  has  been  used extensively  in  Indian  kitchen,  until  the past  forty  years.  The grinding  stone  (Sil)  comes  hand  serrated  with  different  folk designs.  The  Grinder  (Patta)  a  smooth,  cylindrical  stone.   The Sil  is  placed  flat  on  the  floor,  and  while  squatting  on  the  floor  the  patta  is  held  tight  with  both  hands.

Spices  ( in  the  whole  form )  are  placed  on  the  Sil  and  the patta  is  moved  back  and  forth  until  sufficiently  smoothed.

No  electricity  needed,  but  lot  of  elbow  grease.

I  recently  came  across  a  family  who  was  selling  their  ware under  a  Neem  tree  in  rural  India.  Geetaji  with  her  lovely smile  exchanging  cash  for  her  ware,  while  Shamu  – her husband –  was  working  on  the  folk  design  with  the  nail  and hammer.

What  is  left  for  them  in  the  future?

I  would  be  very  interested  to  hear  your  views.  In  a decade or  two,  will  the  Sil  patta  become  a  museum  artifact,  another  relic  of  the  past?



3 thoughts on : Sil Patta: Indian grinding stone. A step backward?

  • August 8, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I think our modern gadgets are no match for these traditional cooking equipment and methods. There is a reason why our grandmums and mums have that kind of flavour in their cooking that is almost impossible to replicate. Sadly, we still resort to such short-cuts for convenience but not my Mum and Aunts. They continue to use the Sil patta and advocate for them. Such a lovely and thoughful post Ratna!

  • Ev
    July 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Wow how interesting Ratna. Sadly all these talented craftsmen and woman may soon be gone. I think the new generation of children are not that interested in preserving cultures and their heritage. Although there is a growing awareness of slow movements – lets hope more people join in before all these beautiful crafts from bygone years disappear.

    • Ratna
      July 31, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Isn’t that the truth Ev? I really hope these talents survive.So happy to hear from ya.

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