in 2002, while visiting my daughter Sat Prakash
in Amritsar, Punjab State, India, I bought some
almond oil (badam rogan) in one of the local
shops. This oil smelled really, really sweet....
sort of like almond extract but much even better!
This was surprising to me because for many years
I had bought the Hain and Spectrum brands in
the U.S. and it never smelled like anything
close to an almond. Even the high priced massage
oils didn't have any hint of an almond scent.
What's the deal?!.... olive oil smells like
olives!... sesame oil smells like sesame seeds!
This was perplexing, I even started to wonder
if the shop owners were adding some artificial
flavor to their almond oil, or something, to
sell it to gullible tourists.
on my next trip to India I took it upon myself to
find out the "Truth" of what was going on here....my
little JFK, Martin and Malcolm conspiracy story. I
started asking questions and the first two people
I asked (one
American and one a local Punjabi) said that an artificial
scent was added and that the shells were removed by
some awful chemical method. At this point I almost
threw in the towel. But then, I thought, this first
seem to have some pretty wild ideas in other subject
areas, so, I thought I'd ask my Punjabi friend
Singh if he knew where the oil was made. (Ya
see, maybe it was how I posed the question. I emphasized
"where" instead of "how". Check it out... an answer
to *where* has to be black and white, but if you ask
that's a potential rabbit hole,....where you could
end up pondering who made the *birds and trees and
in the beginning*. Not objective at all. Belief systems
may into play. Well, my friend Hardeep knew *where*
and the how never came up. So we took a ten
minute walk and came to a very small storefront
big room in back where the actual process took place.The
pictures below tell the story. Many
questions were answered. My mind was more than satisfied.
thing though....the question still remains, what happens
to the God given scent of almonds processed
in the west? and perhaps even the vital essence? I
mean, is it possible to remove the scent and not
remove other qualities? I don't think so. I do know
that there is a market for almond extract,
Almondine, Marzipan and, oh yeah, Almond Joy.
the way, in 2004 I paid about $10 a liter (450 rupees)
for this good Punjabi Almond oil, so
great import opportunity here. I wish you could smell
it. Maybe one day we'll have
"scratch and sniff" app.