Another kitchen appendage that has also disappeared with the older generation is the ‘Wooden Provision or Ration Box / Chest which occupied pride of place in the passage just outside the kitchen door. This Provision Chest / Box was about 5 feet in height and 4 feet in breadth and housed tins of the various provisions and condiments that were required for Anglo-Indian cooking. It was divided into many compartments for rice, and dry provisions such as Dhal / Lentils, Red Chillies, Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, spices, jaggery, etc. While these ingredients / provisions, gave out their own unique smells, a combination of all of them together was just heavenly. The smell from my Nana’s Provision Box still lingers in my mind even after all these years!!
In the old days, kitchens were warm and cozy places, with a pot of stew or soup always on the hob so that a meal was always ready to be served to anyone who dropped in. Most Anglo-Indian ladies were excellent cooks and were adept in baking a variety of cakes and pastries. The enticing aromas of food cooking on the hobs and cakes baking in the ovens were always part of an Anglo-Indian Home.
Sadly all these old appendages such as the Ration Box / Provision Chest, Meat Safes, Meat Mincers, Coconut Scrapers, Wood and coal fired ovens, etc are slowly fading into oblivion.