Spirits in a Spice Jar
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For Sarina Kamini’s Kashmiri family, food is love, love is faith, and faith is family. It’s cause for total emotional devastation when, ten years after her Australian mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, unaddressed grief turns the spice of this young food writer’s heritage to ash and her Hindu prayers to poison. At her lowest ebb, Sarina’s dead Ammi’s typed-up cooking notes become a recipe for healing, her progress in the kitchen marked by her movement through bitterness and grief and loneliness—the daal that is too fiery and lumpen; her play with salt that pricks and burns. In teaching herself how to personalise tradition and spirituality through spice, Sarina creates space to reconsider her relationship with Hinduism and God in a way that allows room for questions. She learns forgiveness of herself for being different, and comes to accept that family means change and challenge as much as acceptance and love.