30 July, 2017
Sil Patta: Indian grinding stone. A step backward?
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?