Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Bowl of Rice and Ayurvedic Soap

Sometimes I wonder about remote ,unknown to me places, just because I happen to like and use some product manufactured there. So, I find myself seeking information on 'Andhrah Pradesh', a state in India, mentioned on my favorite ayurvedic soap; 'Harderwijk' , a city in Holland where the finest organic apple puree comes from; Costa di Mezzate, city in Bergamo, Italy, which houses the Molino Nicoli, the company which produces the finest cornflour; 'Oak Brook', a village in Illinois, USA, home to the headquarters of Paper Mate, the company responsible for my most beloved pencil . And other such locations.

Andhrah Pradesh (capital city - Hyderabad) is a large state situated on the southeastern coast of India. Historically it's called the "Rice bowl of India" as more than 77 % of its crop is rice. Although agriculture is the basis of the state's economy, information technology (software industry) and biotechnology (pharmaceutical companies) are at the top of the key sectors active in this state.

Andrah Pradesh State Assembly (web pic.)

ayurvedic soap

Anyway, I'm very pleased with the green bar of soap ( 18 herbs among its ingredients) produced there. It gives me the right feeling of cleanliness and freshness that I look for in a soap.

Harderwijk is a small city in the eastern part of Holland. It's main attraction is the Dolphinarium with its dolphin shows. However, it is also known for 'Natudis' , wholesaler of organic food and natural health products which has its headquarters and warehouse in the city. I like their sugarless 'appelpuree' which is based on the well-known Demeter apple. I buy this product mainly in winter , and it is eaten as dessert.

Dolphinarium Harderwijk (web pic.)

organic apple puree

Costa di Mezzate is a commune in the province of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy.This place houses the Molino Nicoli SpA , the company which produces the fine cornflour (gluten free) for polenta, the yellow boiled dish made from this kind of flour.

After trying various brands, I found out that this particular Nicoli cornflour is the best for preparing the polenta or its romanian counterpart, a staple dish called 'mamaliga', so I make sure I always have it on the shelf. 'Mamaliga' (polenta) tastes great with everything - especially with cheese, sour cream, omelette, beans.

Medieval Castle in Costa di Mezzate (web pic.)

cornflour for polenta

Oak Brook is a village, a suburb of Chicago in Illinois, USA. The place has many recreational facilities: polo fields, a golf course, swimming pools, tennis fields.
Mc Donald's has its headquarters here and so does Sanford, manufacturer of writing instruments and art materials. Paper Mate is part of the family of brands owned by Sanford. (In the past, there was another village , Bellwood , associated with Stanford and Paper-Mate). Anyway, as far as I know their products are manufactured in Mexico.

Paper Mate mechanical sharp writer pencil has been for many years and still is my best writing companion. I just love it. I can't live without it. It comes in a pack of six or twelve; yellow barrel, but also in neon colors. It doesn't need sharpening, it has a pocket clip, and an eraser. Its writing quality is great.

Oak Brook center (web pic.)

Paper Mate mechanical pencils

I'm all in favor of buying local products and encouraging the local industry, but that's not always possible. I suppose I can make my own organic apple puree, and I can even find a local cornflour that will suit my taste. There's ,however, nothing on the local market similar to the indian ayurvedic soap and to the Paper Mate sharp writer pencil.(sigh).


  1. Exactly Duta. A person just ain't right if he doesn't have favorites and good reasons why.

    I want to walk around that place in India. It's only basmate rice for this kid I tell you.

    Only wear Imperial hats that at one time not that ling ago were made entirely in Denver,CO. Not so anymore.

    This was a fun post and I appreciate the effort you put into it!

  2. Yes we do have our favorites and now all over the world!

  3. Great post Duta....very thought provoking.


  4. Favorites are a rather personal thing. That is what makes each of us unique. This post makes you think about where your own favorites are made. Peace

  5. You are like me! My family calls me the research queen!lol! I love and can relate to this post. It's the little things.

    Baby Ari is doing well & I will be updating her CaringBridge site later today with some VERY good news! Thank you for your prayers Duta!

  6. What a nice trip around the globe! It's good to be curious, I think.

  7. A curious mind is a healthy mind. I too like to check on where things come from.

    When my son was around 3 he noticed that most things had "made in China" on it. He would look for the markings and say, yes, made in China. One day, at the store ahead of us was a toddler. She was Chinese, and of course Andrew said, do you think the baby was made it China? The mom over hearing, laughed and said, yes she was!

  8. What a wonderfully random post. To just investigate the places where some of your favorite items are made. I never would have thought of it, but how insightful and interesting. I love those Papermate pencils myself DUTA! Polenta must be something like grits? I've never had either one, but sounds yummy!

  9. You made me think, Duta, about where things come from. It is surprising how much one takes for granted, forgetting that someone somewhere produces everything we use. As always, you make me think.

  10. I usually don't pay attention to that but you inspired me to check at least some of my favourite products:)

  11. How very gald I am to see a place from my country. The world is a small place. Hyderabad is a lovely city and I like visiting that place.

    And, you are so true. We always try and find out stuff that we like. That makes us researchers in some way, isn't it.

    And, DUTA, if you ever think of coming to India, do let me know. I will take you to Hyderabad.

    Joy always,

  12. One Fly,

    Thank you for your kind words. 'Imperial hats', and 'basmati rice' - I like that.

    Kim & Stuff,

    Yes, We are global now. Globality has its good points and its bad points.


    Thanks. I'm flattered by your words.

    Lady Di Tn,

    How very true! Favorites do make each of us unique. I'm glad my post makes you think about the source of your favorites.

    Lisa Petrarca,

    "research queen " - I like the term. Indeed, it's the little things that make life pleasant. Thanks for the good news on baby Ari. God is mighty and kind!

  13. Janie B,

    You think right.Curiosity is an important trait in our nature; it brings excitement and opens new horizons.


    What a lovely little story! Unbelievable that a boy of 3, your boy Andrew, could be so observing and displaying such curiosity!


    Yes, polenta is also known as "italian grits"; It's a very basic food but with great potential as it goes well with almost everything: sauces,cheese..

    It is made by boiling water, a bit of salt , gradually pouring the cornflour into the pot of boiling water, and mixing to prevent bumps. If you make it thick , you can cut it into slices and turn it ino a good subsitute for bread.


    And you've made my day. with your comment. I'm very glad my post makes you think.


    Well, I do pay attention as I'm curious about these things. I like it that my post has "inspired" you to check the sources of some of your favorites.

    Susan Deborah,

    You can't imagine how much I like indian products: fabric, householdware, etc.. Perhaps in my previous life I lived in India. Who knows?!

    I'm glad to hear from you that Hyderabad is a lovely city, and I'm overwhelmed by your kind proposal to show me the city if ever I come to India. Thank you.

  14. It truly is a global economy, and it's interesting to know something about where some things originate.

    I love those pencils, myself, but I never thought about where they are made.

  15. Very inspiring post to make us all think.
    Historically in the 20th century we have been invaded with products from around the world through marketing, but in more recent years we have been encouraged to sample locally sourced items which commenced with food. As you say there are limits to our choices ... I have one of those pencils, it has lasted that long that I can't remember where I bought it for the next time !

  16. Duta, I really like the paper mate mechanical pencils and that soap that you use sounds wonderful with all those herbs.

    You put together another great & informative post and I truly enjoyed it!

    Thank you and have a great weekend!

  17. I love doing the same. It's like a mini-travel thanks to the internet.

    About that soap, I swear for a moment it felt to me as if I could smell at least half of the herbs while looking at the image. :D

    I also am for oraganic & local made things, but sometimes it's the exotic products whch one needs to be satisfied.
    And if they weren't from abroad, they wouldn't be exotic in the first place, right? ;)

  18. Dimple,

    Yes, it's interesting to learn about products' origin; this learning opens for us some new horizons.


    Thank you. We're encouraged by local authorities to buy local products, and at the same time the country is "invaded" by foreign products which has its good and bad points.


    Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad we share the love for the same kind of pencil. LOL.
    Yes, the soap is great as a cleaner and refreshener!


    Internet mini travel, indeed.
    Glad we see 'eye to eye' in matters of organic and local products. You're right about the exotic items as well.

  19. Duta, de cate ori iti citesc postarile, ma umplu de informatii, esti o adevarata eciclopedie, felicitari.

  20. Multumesc mult pentru compliment; imi face mare placere sa stiu ca-mi citesti postarile.
    Saptamana fericita sa ai, Lumi!

  21. Duta, you certainly covered some ground here. The spot in India is awesome. Enjoy your summer.


  22. Duta, you certainly covered some ground here. The spot in India is awesome. Enjoy your summer.


  23. Duta, you certainly covered some ground here. The spot in India is awesome. Enjoy your summer.


  24. Duta, you certainly covered some ground here. The spot in India is awesome. Enjoy your summer.


  25. La Petite Gallery,

    Hi, Yvonne. Good to hear from you.
    Glad you liked the indian spot. I I also like it.
    Have an enjoyable summer too!

  26. Mamaliga was a favorite dish in my home in Skokie, Illinois--not far from Oak Brook. I was thrilled when I found it mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula...mamaliga, that is, not Oak Brook.

  27. Quite interesting. I feel like if I could smell the soap...hmm--delightful.

    Talking about healthy food, I was just reading about the effects of gluten, and why is recommended gluten-free products. I didn't know much about it until now. I guess I will start reading labels, from now on :-/

    Great post, Duta.


  28. Talltchr,

    You and mamaliga?! No kidding.

    I suppose your parents or grandparents came from somewhere in East-Europe where mamaliga is a very popular dish.

    Hold my hand - Doris,

    There are so many kinds of soap on the market! I 'fell for' this one.

    Reading labels has become very important these days - if one wishes to keep healthy.