☛ Submission for October, 2024 issue (Vol. 5, No. 2) is going on. The last date for submission is 30 September, 2024.





-         Nandini Sahu (India)


In a kitchen where the flames ignite,

a symphony of manna-like taste takes flight.

The pots and pans of the Daitapati, the chef's delight

create a world of pure epicurean gourmet.


With earthen pots donned and wooden ladles in hand

a culinary dance of the temple-chef like the Chaiti-Ghoda, intrepid and grand.

Ingredients blend, a nicely-choreographed band

creating dishes from a far-off indigenous land.


From ecofriendly spices and turmeric that stimulate the dormant senses

to herbs that lend their fragrant tenses

here cooking is a gift, like Draupadi’s, like Sita’s, without pretences

a journey through life's varied lenses.


A surge of love, a smidgin of conservation of the Mahaprasad

in every meal, a story of food and livestock to share.

From earthen hearths to the puja mandap

a journey rare, never-ending food's alchemy, beyond compare.


Sautéing, simmering and boiling green, organic food

with techniques old and techniques newfangled.

In every recipe, a folktale to tell, an archive, a lost-world to view

a voyage of flavours, consecration, like a dream come true.


The magic Mahaprasada brings, in every nook and cranny

the love among the devotees beyond margins

a canvas of a borderless society, a masterpiece uncanny

in a kitchen where traditions, cultures melt, thrive and pulse.


Where ancient wisdoms, Indian knowledge systems stir in every dish

indigenous recipes, a gift of the old-world, atextile of intertextual dreams

from North to South, from East to Western shores

Zara Sabara’s tribe and their culinary treasures.


Here, secret recipes are passed down, the oral voices speak

beneath the moon of the Puri sea-beach, in the gentle light and dark.

The aroma of cedar and sage in planks and earthen pots so right

a salmon coral story in cedar wraps does proliferate.


A taste of history, Sabara tribes' journey to Puri badadanda,

Odia Monarch Indradyumnaand tribal king Vishvavasu—their legend.

The mythopoetic and the mythopoeia of the creation of

the Jagannath temple, the story of the cosmological time-set.


Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe, His pitch-black skin

His half-built limbs, His solidarity with the ‘Black’ and the differently-abled;

the morphological features and countenance of an unfinished,

premature, aboriginal, ‘savage’, exotic look of the three deities.


Three siblings' kitchen garden that Goddess Laxmi embellishes,

corn, beans, squash unite companions in the soil. Spirits entwine

in harmony, they cultivate hope, their colours optimistic.

Food is the theme, food is the symbol of the land, of life's musical design.


Food is the sacred art in Lord  Jagannath’s Rasoi-Ghara,

here ethos and faith work as the fuel, ancestral secrets whispered.

Inherited moods guide the cook's deft hand

In ghee, zero-oil, steamed-vegetables, honey and beans, histories unfold.


From ancient rituals, tastes nostalgic, poignant.

A journey back through time, to that sacred home of the Lord.

From Pacific Ocean and islands to the desert's heat,

aboriginal recipes, a tradition to complete, in every bite, there’s antiquity.


No one goes famished, starving from Jagannath Puri.

Here, food is the language that transcends all borders.

A taste of Odia culture, food is the world of divine orders.

In every bite, a feeling hoards memories, emotions and life's rewards.