How green is my valley, an Illumnating Award and winner of Blue Ribbon Challenge

Summer vacations are fun. I like sun, I love it when it’s sunny and golden. The grass looks green, the paint looks brighter, and in general, the world looks happy. Even the flowers are dancing most of the time.

East coast has its own charm and there are some trumpets that only a New Englander can blow. Having the experience of all 4 seasons is one of them. Summer is especially worth mentioning because it is sublime. There are very few lands in the world which can boast of summer more beautiful than north-eastern part of North America.

Summer back in India is as different from the New England summer as chalk is from cheese. We all dreaded the summer, inspite of the fact that it meant longs months off from school, a fact that remains unchanged. Summer vacation in India is more a necessity than a leisure. Temperatures soar anywhere from 100F to 120F in most parts of the country. The Loo – a terribly hot wind – makes sure we are ensconced indoors whole day. The heat and scorching sun makes it next to impossible for anyone to carry on their day-to-day activities. However, offices run, daily wagers slog, and many lose the battle with heat. When I was young, Air Conditioning was not the norm in most homes, and Central cooling was practically unheard of.

So what did we do? We all used an indigenous cooling device which was known as ‘Water Cooler’ or ‘Evaporative cooler’. Based on a simple concept, it is a large square wire tank with a fan at the front. The sides are layered heavily with straw, and there is a large water trough at the bottom of the tank. The straw would be dripping wet, so hot air inside would rapidly cool down, throwing gales of chilled air into the room. The water inside the tank would keep the straw wet at all times, until it was gone. If the straw became dry, the fan threw out hot air. Then it was time for a refill with a simple garden hose. We even added aromatic essence to the water, which would fill the house with a beautiful fragrance.

Of course, another big problem in those days was that water table would routinely drop dramatically in the summer, making water a scarce commodity. Our water supply was timed, and we would fill out water tanks in our house. If the water table dipped too low, the corporation was unable to supply running water. Then they would send water tankers to the neighborhoods, and we would fill our tanks. Water was carefully rationed, and we always made sure there was plenty for the cooler.

To give you an idea, I got a picture from the web.

It was no where close to this stylish back in my school days, but they did their job beautifully. Although many of us eventually graduated to window AC, ‘Cooler’ continues to have a place of pride even today.

Choc Chip Uru, the beautiful lady from Go Bake Yourself awarded me the Illuminating Award. Coming from her, it means the world, because she is one the best out there. If you haven’t yet sampled her sweetness, head over to her fabulous blog and see for yourself. Thank you Uru, you are one big heart.

For this award, I have to tell you one random fact about myself. Well, I do have a secret wish – I want to write a novel. A romance at that. I have a story going around in my head for a long time now, but whenever I sit down to write, words escape me. I always think…how hard that can be? Well, let me tell you, it is HARD. Really really hard.

Now, I would like to pass on this beautiful award to some spectacular bloggers who light up the blogosphere every time they share something.

A culinary journey with Chef Dennis

Tiny Urban Kitchen

Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen

Food Stories

For the love of cooking

Also I won the first prize for Crunchy Creamy Sweet’s June Blue Ribbon Challenge.Β  A BIG thank you to each and every one of you who voted for me. You guys rock my world.

My entry was Zaffrani Mango Mousse. This picture was also featured in CJ’s FoodStories.

Mango Mousse

Zaffrani Mango Mousse

So tell me, has any of ever seen or heard anything like our ‘cooler’?

24 comments for “How green is my valley, an Illumnating Award and winner of Blue Ribbon Challenge

  1. Bhaskar
    July 30, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    First big congrats!!!!!!!!!! πŸ˜€ And now hope you remember the treat due. Donji will be waiting. πŸ˜‰ Let me go and inform her highness now.

    Your garden looks BEAUTIFUL didi. Especially now with flowers blooming!! And Lush green, love it.

    • July 31, 2012 at 7:58 AM

      hahahaha! Please do, and tell her I have a big bowl reserved for her, whenever she wants.

      I can’t claim any credit for the fab garden – all I do is water it :))

  2. CCU
    July 31, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Your mango mousse looks wonderful my friend πŸ˜€
    Congrats on the many mentions and features and award πŸ™‚
    And thank you for the sweet shout out!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • July 31, 2012 at 7:59 AM

      Thank you SO much Uru!!!

  3. July 31, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Congratulations on both your awards and your mango mousse looks delicious! I am intrigued by your cooler, I would love to try one of those.
    And thank you so much for thinking of me and passing on the Illuminating Award, I am honored!


    • July 31, 2012 at 8:01 AM

      First, I am honored to have you here. I wish we could buy those coolers here too. It would be perfect for the dry hot climate of west coast and midwest. Thank you for your kind and lovely words.

  4. July 31, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Congratulations on your award and yes, Uru is amazing. Those summers in India sound unbearably hot. I think the most special thing about where you are now living is that you get to experience four very distinct seasons xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..The Silent SuffererMy Profile

    • July 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      They are! But humans have the amazing ability to adapt, which is a blessing.

  5. Preeti
    July 31, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Congratulations Dii!!!

    And those picture’s of your Garden is beautiful but the doggies loojk scary:P Congratulations Once Again:-)

    • July 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Thanks Preeti! That’s so sweet :)) The dogs might look scary, but they are very very gentle.

  6. July 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Minnie … Congrats on your award & Thx so much for thinking of me πŸ™‚
    CJ at Food Stories recently posted..Bloomin’ Indian-Spiced CauliflowerMy Profile

    • July 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      Thanks CJ!! XOXO

  7. July 31, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    you are one award lady!!!! congratulations, your recipes are indeed special!! and i love reading your nostalgic stories as well!!

    start writing that novel. whatever comes to your mind just jot it down. so, when do we get to read that novel?

    and water cooler rocks!!!

    • July 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      Thank you Debajyoti! It’s all kudos to my awesome blogger buddies.

      As for the novel, no clue. I write, rewrite, then discard. I do write whatever comes to mind…..but they never develop to my taste. As I said, HARD, REAL hard.

  8. July 31, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    That sounds hot, hot, hot! I love the idea of that cooler though. I’ve heard of something like that before but never knew exactly how it worked – thanks for the description. I bet it was lovely to sit in front of that!

    • August 1, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      It did get the temperature down. It’s not too effective when it’s humid though.

  9. August 1, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Congratulations on your awards Minnie! they are very well deserved! πŸ˜€
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Slow Cooker Lamb & Creamy, Cheesy PolentaMy Profile

    • August 1, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      Thank you Lorraine, you are so sweet.

  10. August 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Congratulations Minnie Di!
    Your garden is absolutely beautiful. I still have to try making that Mango mousse as it looks delicious.
    Gaganjot recently posted..How green is my valley, an Illumnating Award and winner of Blue Ribbon ChallengeMy Profile

    • August 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Thank you Gagan. Let me know how it turned out.

  11. August 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Congrats on your awards!! πŸ™‚
    I love reading about your childhood. I always learn so much!
    Erin {Recimplicity} recently posted..Banana Stuffed French ToastMy Profile

    • August 3, 2012 at 4:33 AM

      Thanks Erin! The adventures we often have when young are so unique.

  12. August 2, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Evaporative coolers are used everywhere in southern Australia. When we built our house down there we had two big units and reverse cycle air conditioning in our bedroom and offices. There were a few humid days when evaporative cooling doesn’t work but mostly it’s great. Open all the doors and windows and it’s perfectly cool.

    Lots of people call them swamp coolers but I think they’re great. We’re in northern Australia now and it’s much more humid so they wouldn’t work here.

    Congrats on the awards.. you’re really racking them up! πŸ™‚
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Sugar Free Spiced Oranges & My First GiveawayMy Profile

    • August 3, 2012 at 4:40 AM

      Wow! I didn’t know that! I think they are awesome. Wonder why we dont have any in US. They would be very effective in Midwestern state where it’s so dry and arid.

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