While still in Israel I first saw an article about the Traveling Spoon online and got excited immediately. This new website promised to match tourists with local people throughout the world to enjoy an authentic culinary and cultural experience: whether going to the market, cooking and/or eating together. We were invited as ambassadors of the website to vet a woman in Kochi to become a host. Of course we accepted!
At 11 o'clock we were picked up by Sherly's handsome driver in a car that barely fits in the narrow streets of Fort Kochi (Read more about Kochi), to take us to her pampered gated neighborhood. Very far from the exposed poverty that stretches out throughout India, her house is a nice cottage with a lovely garden and Christian holly decoration.
After removing our shoes, she opened to us her home and kitchen, as well as herself and her life story. Married young to a businessman, they left their village in central Kerala to the city of Ernakulam to develop their careers. She was the first authorized travel agent in India and runs her agency to this day.
After widowing her husband, she moved to a smaller house in a fancy closed neighborhood with her "boy", a young helper from Kalkutta she inherited from her son when he left India with his family to the Emirates to become a pilot. He keeps her company and takes care of the house, a strange concept for us, but I guess that given his origins and education, having a safe house, food, and a stable job, he's better off than many of his friends at home.
Following her family and friends compliments about her cooking, she decided to bring it to visitors while making an extra income. Soon she will become a host for the "traveling spoon".
We started our lunch with lemonade and local snacks (dried bananas, cashew nuts, and chips, all home-made).
Then we entered the kitchen, well, one of them. There's her kitchen, modern, fully equipped, shiny and spotless; and there's the help kitchen, where the work is done 🙂
- Fried mushroom with tartar sauce.
- Curry leave fried fish with veg salad.
- Appam (rice flour pancake).
- Homemade mango pickles.
- Chicken Pilaf.
- Deep fried ladyfingers (Bamia)
- Pineapple Dream (chopped pineapple, biscuits and curd)
- Pomegranate & Curd
OMG!!!! It was sooooo delicious!
The secret is in the ingredients and giving the food time to cook, no rushing! The coconut oil she uses come from coconuts she brings from her family town and gives them to a local factory to make.
If you want to hear more about the traveling spoon, have a look at their website. We definitely recommend it as a way to eat fabulous food and get to learn more about the local people, way way more that you'd ever learn than eating at a restaurant.
For sure we'll look for more "traveling spoon"hosts in our ongoing trip.