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Weaving Cultures Together

If there’s one thing that seems to be close to almost everyone’s heart, it’s food. It’s not just that it sustains us and gives us energy for life—it is loaded with emotion as well. We eat certain dishes to celebrate holidays or accomplishments. We remember childhood according to tastes and smells in the kitchen. We attach special significance to regional specialties.

Remarkable (and a bit odd) as it is, food on television (food we can’t even taste!) has taken on a life of its own in the West. Our family doesn’t watch much TV, but when we do watch something together, it is often a cooking show. It’s entertaining but also practical, as we regularly put ingredients, recipes, and techniques from these shows into our meal rotation.

Lately, one of our favorites has been the BBC’s Great British Bake Off, which airs in the U.S. on PBS as The Great British Baking Show. Contestants are usually encouraging to one another, and the judges are honest and fair, gently goading everyone to do their best.

A recent season we watched had contestants from all over the U.K., including Chetna Makan (pic above) who grew up in India. Every creation she made throughout the series contained a nod to her Indian upbringing, helping her stand out among some of the more traditional contestants. She confidently infused classic cakes, cookies, and breads with cardamom, garam masala, mangoes, and more, usually meeting with much praise and success from previously skeptical judges (and she just published her first cookbook!).

Also we are LOVING her necklace in the photo above (!!)

Watching the way she wove together her culinary heritage with Western baking styles reminded us of the difficulty and skill of communicating and working across cultures. Because she was both unashamed of her background and willing to learn from the traditions of her adopted home, she was able to mesh the cultures together in such a way that both shone through. She also has a Youtube channel with helpful videos on how to make her recipes, if you are intimidated at the thought of making Indian dishes.

That’s a little slice of what the Dekko team tries to accomplish with the products we produce. On the one hand, everything you buy from us is handmade in India by our artisan families. On the other, our products also fit the needs and styles of our customers in the West. It’s a beautiful marriage of cultures that tries to bring the best of both together; learning from each other without losing what makes each one unique.

This world is full of sights, sounds, smells, and colors. In every little corner of the globe, people put these things together in astonishingly different ways. In today’s global economy, the corners get folded together, often bringing new and beautiful things out of these differences. Why not wander over and “have a dekko” at some of our artisans’ handiwork to add a bit of Indian flavor to your life? Or take a look at some of our favorite Indian recipes from our blog.

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