Please forgive me the transgression of diverting us from all things clay sculptural, and indulge me in a bit o’discourse regarding one of my favorite parts of Bengali culture – Mishty.
Mishty is the Bengali word for sweet and is also the word for a dizzying variety of sweet foods that are made with nuts and/or milk products combined with spices and other flavorings. Mishty shops are everywhere in Kolkata, and are a cause for wonder— if one stops to think about the sheer output of sweets in relation to the number of people available to eat them! In any case, it’s not long into a conversation with a Bengali before they assert the superiority of Bengali sweets over all others. While I won’t comment any more about that, I will definitively say that mishty are delicious!!
I favored one shop in particular, which was on the way to a studio where I worked occasionally. The name is Balaram and Mullick’s, as pictured below, at the Bhawanipore location where they have been in business since 1885.
Rasgullah, sandesh, kheer, chamcham, chenna, chandra, kalakund, gulab jamun, ladoo —even in seven months of living here, I fear that there will not be enough time to try everything. I have made a solemn promise to myself to learn to make the mishty doi (sweet yogurt) when I return to Santa Cruz. For the rest, I’ll just need to return to Kolkata!