Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India- Catching Up (Jan 2017)

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There have been pieces of information, I’ve wanted to share throughout this trip, but have postponed in attempt to keep the posts short. Before I write about the end of my trip, I decided to publish a “Catch Up” one.

Western Cafe

The Western Cafe has been anticipating a major remodel for several years. That time has come. While I was flying back to Seattle yesterday, they were moving the cafe and bakery to a temporary location.

A large structure has been set up in the courtyard west of the Indian canteen. The cafe food will be prepared and sold there. The bakery is being relocated to an area east of the Indian Canteen. The dining area will still be in the west side of the auditorium.

I don’t think the entire building is being torn down; I believe the existing structure is being completely remodeled and a second floor is being added. When the construction is complete, the bakery will move to the upper floor.

For the last four or five years, Sreejit has cooked for the Western Canteen in an area behind the Indian kitchen. When the remodel is finished, he will be located in the new building. The construction will take until August to complete.

Elevator etiquette

There is an informal type of etiquette that is practiced by many people at the ashram. To prevent residents and visitors from having to stop at every floor, when those people get on an elevator, they look to see if someone has already pressed the button for a floor near their destination. If a button for a nearby floor has already been pressed, they get off there rather than pressing another button.

For example, I live on the fifth floor. If someone else is getting off on the fourth or the sixth floor, then I leave the elevator at the same time they do and walk up or down a floor. I think it is a respectful gesture, as well as gives some extra exercise. I would continue the practice in the U.S., if stairs here were as easy to find. In Amritapuri, they are located directly across from the elevator.

Spinach

The most abundant food produced by the Amritapuri gardens is organic spinach. It was so nice to have spinach added to many of the soups, curries, stews and salads this year.

Below are photos of several types of spinach; there are more. My favorite one is the first one. If anyone knows what that variety is called let me know. I’d like to see if I could plant it in Seattle. I ate some of it right off the vine and loved it.

Moringa

Many of the Amritapuri Gardens are now producing Moringa. It is considered a superfood and is being used to combat malnutrition in several parts of the world. According to Wikipedia, it is an “exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree” that can grow in dry, sandy soil. Every part of the tree can be used for food. Wikipedia states that it may reach 10 meters in height, but is usually cut back to 1 meter each year.

Since I lost my phone, I cannot share my photos of the Amritapuri Moringa plants/trees with you but I found some on Wikimedia.

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16 thoughts on “Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India- Catching Up (Jan 2017)

    1. I, for some unknown reason, haven’t tried it but I am laughing at your comment. The reason for that is that I am the one that years ago suggested to Chaitanya that she add it to the cafe menu! I will make having some a priority for my next trip.

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      1. My mom made it for me as a child and made it for my children. That is part of why it came to my mind, but I also knew it would work well on their grills. They can’t make scrambled eggs because it would make a mess on the grill. French toast doesn’t.

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  1. Learning something new again about this superfood! I am not much of a gardener but when the children were little spinach was one thing I had a lot of. Olivier would snack on it directly from the garden…so delicious. I did not know that it grew in abundance in India…something I would surely appreciate:)

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    1. I don’t know that it grows in abundance in India, but growing it has become a priority in Amritapuri. I imagine much of what they call spinach would be called something else here.

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      1. I will know if it pokes its head this year again that it is perennial!! I have some seeds from last year actually. Email me if you want some.

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      2. If you don’t need/want them I’d love to have them. But I can also order them. So how did the plant do for you last year. Did you get lots of “spinach”? Let me know if you find out is perinneal. I would think not, but what do I know!

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