A recent visit to mother’s home (how nice it sounds!) unravelled another of her genius conservation methods: a measuring bowl that is at least 20 years old.
Don’t mistake it for a steel bowl or any other metal. It’s a simple, unassuming coconut shell—nicely halved with its edges smoothened with time and touch. It’s nothing new, especially to those born in coastal areas. But it didn’t fail to strike a chord.
In fact, not only the measuring bowl, even the red box filled with chilli power it lives in is equally old. Together, they have overcome the test of time and the 20th century consumer greed that has forced countless species disappear and has many more teetering on the brink of extinction.
“It’s the best. It doesn’t smell bad or rot. It doesn’t spoil the food. It costs nothing. If it breaks, it hardly takes time to make another,” my mother said.
My mother also narrated a story of her friend who used to carry food in coconut shells. She apparently had a collection of shells of many sizes, each one serving its owner the maximum convenience and satisfaction. The food, even uncooked chutney, remained fresh for a long time in these shells. Only liquids needed metal containers. However, when it came to serving, she had many specially carved small spoons and ladles with handles fixed by the local carpenter.
Can there be conservation of higher order than this?