One of the fruits of the Food Plymouth : Thrive Plymouth collaboration is people and projects coming forward who we have not worked with previously. A great example of this is the talented and engaging Purdy Giles who we met at a recent Thrive Plymouth Network meeting. Here is an introduction to Purdy and her work:
By Purdy Giles
I was born in Nurmahal in the Punjab region of India. My parents travelled to the West Midlands from India in 1963, when I was a toddler. We settled in Wolverhampton, where I was raised with my three younger sisters. Although I have no recollections of India, I have very vivid memories of my Mother’s cooking.
Everything was cooked from scratch, with vegetables and herbs grown in the garden. Natural yoghurt was made from a live culture and incubated overnight in the airing cupboard. Like many Asian families, we had a large galvanised bin with a lid, which held chapati flour and shelves of large ice cream containers which held a variety of different coloured lentils and pulses, jars of home made pickled vegetables and individual spices which my Mother used to make her own garam massala. I have fond memories of my Mother laying the spices on a metal tray and leaving them out in the garden on a sunny day to dry. She would pick out any stones she came across. My Sisters and I would take it in turns to grind the massala by turning the handle on a grinding machine which she attached to the dining table via a clamp. The wonderful aroma would fill my nostrils- it felt warm and soothing. The food was colourful, aromatic and absolutely delicious. I learnt to cook from my Mother.
The wonderful cuisine of the Punjab, which is part of my cultural heritage has remained a constant in my life. I have shared it with my children, and latterly my grandchildren, as well as my friends, who have become my chosen family.
As an adult, I have always worked in the caring professions and whilst I felt it was my passion and my calling for many years, towards the end of 2017 I decided that it was time to take a new career path. The idea came to me when my family gathered for a shared meal. All the grandchildren made their own chapatis, and my daughter posted a photo on Face Book with the title “Nanna’s Chapati School”. A light bulb moment ensued, with the dawning of a new era and chapter in my life, one where I could be “present” for my family and enjoy what I have always shared and loved with a wider audience!!
It’s my wish to collaborate and engage with people, to impart my knowledge and hope they take away the experience and re-create it in their own home.
There is something very primitive about preparing and sharing food, it’s also therapeutic, and engages our senses. The more colourful and aromatic, the more intense the experience. The health giving properties of the spices are an added bonus, and we can all feel when a meal is made with love. We experience a tangible warm and loving hug.
I feel that I have “come home to my authentic self”, reclaiming my Cultural Heritage in a way that honours and supports me. It’s my privilege to share my Cuisine with you, and I look forward to meeting with you.
I offer workshops at my home or yours. Invite your friends round for a unique experience you will always remember. Bespoke packages available.