I was taking Dau.II back to the bus for Cork on Sunday night and, being protestant, arrived half-an-hour early at the bus-station in Waterford. What to do? Do some shopping! So I ducked into Spice World, the oriental deli on the Quays, to buy some cloves Syzygium aromaticum. Weirdly, having just been talking about that spice, we ran out of them over the holidays. As I walked down to the back of the shop I overheard a customer asking The Help for jeera, coincidentally I was passing at eye-level a big packet of cumin seed so I pointed it out to them. Customer happy, The Help was amazed:
"How do you know how to speak my language?" he asked.
"What is your language?"
"Aha, that's the same as Hindi, isn't it?"
"Yes, yes, The Boss speaks Hindi, he's from India. But we understand each other very well"
I pointed out that finding his customer's spice was particularly easy because it had Jeera written in big letters on the packet. I also told him the feel-good story from International Day at The Institute about Pakistani and Indian students finding common cause, common food, and uncommon friendship while away in a foreign land. Here was multi-cultural Ireland working surprisingly well with Indians employing Pakistanis. Whatever will I hear about next? Russians and Ukrainians in County Roscommon sharing recipes for вареники and agreeing that they'd rather live on the banks of the Shannon than in Crimea.
I came away with a particularly light step . . . and 50g of cloves. The wholesale price is currently $8,000/tonne. I paid $24,000/tonne for my itty-bitty packet; that's about right for a mark-up I guess.