Sukha Aloo – dVerse Poetics


My growing-up world is a map of aromas –

as my little snub nose lifts like a sniffer dog’s

as my beady eyes interrogate the shelves

as my chubby fingers reach out to touch –

cumin, paprika, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander garam masala…

the list is never ending and exotic to my ears

my heart explodes and my mouth waters in anticipation

at the glories that will dance on my tongue – later

the kitchen will swell with steam and spatter

the pots will bubble, burping explosions of delight into the air

meat will sizzle, onions will sweat, my skin will prickle

and later, much later, so very, very much later

chapati and naan will wipe our plates clean

raita will soothe our burning tongues

and i will save my helping of sukha aloo to the very last

because they are my favourite thing of all


Tonight, Grace, our lovely host over at the dVerse pub, invites us to write about scents, aromas, and evoke emotions. For me, the choice was obvious – food!

Oh what a joyous write this was for me, a real step back in time to my childhood of 1970s Birmingham! We lived not too far from a wondrous street called Ladypool Road in Sparkbrook (in the midst of the Balti Triangle), which was an absolute delight to anyone who wanted – no, needed – to buy herbs, spices and other necessary foodstuffs to create real authentic cuisine from around the world (there were and still are brilliant restaurants there too). From my memory, we went there to buy food to make curries – my step-dad would take over the kitchen and create absolutely wonderful food (I hope you can tell I loved it!).

My mum and step-dad took me to an Indian restaurant when I was little (back in the days of the flock wallpaper) – the Indian waiters were all amazed to see a little white girl eat proper curry! I felt very proud of my apparent prowess! I loved being part of the multi-cultural city where I grew up. It was a fantastic education in its own right.

Please do join in dVerse Poetics before the two week summer break – or if you’re feeling shy, at least come and enjoy the wonderful selection of poetry I know you will find there!





47 thoughts on “Sukha Aloo – dVerse Poetics

  1. Lovely exotic smells. Happy spices. We used all the French herbs and baking spices so those smells make me happy when I cook today. Fresh herbs, dried spices. I didn’t eat any Indian food until as an adult when I went away to university. What a total wow. And you grew up with these amazing smells and flavors. My mouth is watering over those spicy taters right now. Think I will fix for tomorrow night.

    1. I’m glad you found Indian food eventually! I was lucky to grow up with it all on my doorstep, yes! Enjoy your Indian extravaganza tomorrow! And thank you for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

  2. Oh, I do love Indian food. And men in the kitchen! What a tantalizing treat, this poem, as well as your additional thoughts. Thank you!

  3. Simply delicious Freya, its early morning here and my breakfast is about to take place, you have made me hungry…..though it may not be a curry….bit early…

  4. “cumin, paprika, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander garam masala” Each of these brought the aroma to mind in a distinct way! When I make Thai Curry Paste, the smell stays in my head for days and I crave it. Thank you for sharing the story – what a delight to join you there! You really nailed this one!!!

  5. I won’t even wait to say, “Yum!” What I want to say is that I totally fell into the moments of your poem and savored and breathed spices and dishes — many of which I’ve never experienced, but was able to come to some experience thereof. Bravo!

  6. I only discovered Indian food when I was an adult so lucky for you to be exposed that early to spicy and very flavorful herbs. I still can’t take curry or hot dishes but give me flavors of other dishes and I am excited to try it.

    Thanks for joining us and wishing you a happy week.

  7. “What a wonderful poem full of spice and imagery,” she said. “So specially exotic for a child to travel the world in your own neighbourhood.”
    “Thank you for sharing,” she added

  8. I am amazed at the bright, flavorful spices of the Indian cuisine. I love samosas and I make a pretty good curry with chicken. Have not tried star anise….yet.
    This was a delicious response to the prompt. 🙂

  9. I never tried Indian food, but your poem makes it sound so delicious! 🙂 Beautiful writing, Freya!

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