ESCAPE MONTHLY: JULY 2014
When I think of India, I immediately think of brightly colored saris. To me, it's a very tactile land of mystery, filled with exotic fabrics, statues of multi-armed gods, beautiful architecture like the Taj Mahal, strongly spiced foods, rich black teas, and unimaginable poverty. While I'm certain that last item won't make it into a subscription box celebrating the sights and flavors of India, I hope that the other ones will!
Welcome to India!
Over time, India has served as a crossroads of cultures, has been a source of rich medical history, and is one of the most spiritual places in the world.
This month, we invite you to explore India in all its wonder. From unique scents & tastes to traditional Ayurvedic bath and body care, we hope you find this Escape a refreshing trip into the unknown!
At first glace, I can see that this is a very food-heavy box. I'm actually not a huge fan of Indian cuisine, so that's a touch disappointing, but my husband loves it so he'll enjoy the food I prepare for him with these items. I'm also noting a definite lack of textiles, like a tiny embroidered coin purse or a scarf, which was one thing I was certain would be in the box.
But never mind what didn't arrive - what was in this Escape to India?
Saffron Road Korma Simmer Sauce: I've never had Korma sauce, and I have to admit I'm curious. I'll chop up some chicken and make Seanie a tasty dinner! In the Escape Monthly brochure, the listing is for a "Tikka Masala" sauce, but I'm actually happier with this one as I've had Tikka Masala several times, and never found it all that appealing. I'm disappointed to note that this is made in the United States by a company that makes sauces from Korean, Moroccan and Thai cuisine. Isn't this box supposed to make me feel like I'm taking an exotic trip to find uniquely Indian things? $3.59.
Grass-Fed Organic Ghee: I had to consult Google to find out what the heck ghee is - it's a clarified butter that will supposedly cleanse and promote well-functioning organs. I guess it doesn't have to be refrigerated? I'll have to consult an Indian cookbook to see if this is used any differently than regular butter. Made in New Jersey. $2.95
Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry Indian Simmer Sauce: My husband and I love Thai curry, but I'm sure he'll embrace Indian curry, too. I'm a bit nervous about using this, though - I've noticed that whenever my brother makes a curry dish at my parent's house, the smell lingers for days. I guess I'd better keep the windows open when I cook this. Again, this is made in America - in fact, I'm certain I've see this on local grocery store shelves. $7.39.
Masala Pop Chai Masala Popcorn: This initially seems like a great idea, but in execution it didn't work out. The popcorn would have tasted great - the rich, peppery flavor layered over caramel popcorn was really appealing - but it was incredibly stale and practically inedible. There's no size, but I'd estimate there's about two cups of popcorn in here. Made in Portland, OR. $2.50.
I guess if I'm perfectly honest, I don't think I'd trust food that actually came from India, since I have no way of knowing if their food production facilities are held to the same standards as the ones here.
Banyan Botanicals Peppermint Soap: We can always use more soap, so I'm happy to see this little sample, even though I doubt it'll last more than a few days because it's so small. $0.70.
Banyan Botanicals Organic Healthy Hair Oil: I'm not sure if one is meant to apply this directly to the hair or massage into the roots - but either way, it sounds messy. And greasy. The website suggests using the oil once a week to add gloss and shine to the hair, and washing it out after half an hour or leaving it in overnight. Well, I've got a lot of hair that needs tending so I might as well try it, but I think I'll aim for days when I don't have work in case it leaves my hair oily! $12.95.
Amber Perfume Oil: Amber perfumes always go a bit funky on my skin - something about the chemistry just doesn't work out! I'll have to find a new home for this little guy. $9.00.
Sandalwood Perfume Oil Sample: I love sandalwood incense because it makes me think of those enormous medieval cathedrals filled with rainbow lights from hundreds of stained glass windows that you find all over Europe. So I won't be using this on my skin, but in an oil burner I'm happy to let this perfume my home. $1.00?.
Again, all products made in the United States. Is there anything from India in here?
Moon Handbooks Taj Mahal Delhi & Jaipur: I've always wanted to see the Taj Mahal, and ride an Indian elephant. (Pity there were no cute elephants in the box.) Plus, I'm so relieved that this wasn't a "Living Abroad in India" book, since that's the sort of travel guide Escape Monthly has selected for their other overseas destination. $19.99.
Gouri Puja Fancy Bindi: This was the only item in the box that actually came from India. I love how fancy these are - they look like little willow branches. I'm not sure that I'll be comfortable wearing them, as I'm definitely not Indian and feel funny about appropriating other cultures' costumes. I mean, it would be inappropriate to wear a Native American war bonnet to the mall - is a bindi any different? These are cool, though. $2.00.
With a value of over $60.00, I definitely got my money's worth, but I don't feel this box did a good job of capturing the spirit of India. Nearly everything was made in the United States! But what really bummed me out was the lack of a textile object, because I think that between the beauty of silk saris and the legacy of the colonial cotton industry, fabric is a huge part of Indian culture. I read on Escape Monthly's Facebook page that they had originally intended to include a scarf in this box, but the scarves didn't arrive in time to be included. Man! I would have happily taken a late box if I got an Indian scarf in the deal!
Next month: Paris!
My mom will love that one. She'll probably steal half the box's contents.
Escape Monthly is a vacation-themed subscription box. Each month, one subscriber is randomly chosen to "win" a trip to the themed location! The subscription rate is $49.95 a month, but if you use the coupon code "YOURESCAPE" your subscription will be 20% off each month. If you want to know more or wish to subscribe, please consider using my referral link: http://mbsy.co/hjDG