heavy metal in India: Cooking & Baking Posted June 9, 2004 Dusting off an old thread, but my interest isn't metal vessels at the moment, but stone ones - of kal-chattis, as they're called in Tamil. I knew they were used for pickles and thought that was quaint, but perhaps not that practicable and anyway glass jars did the jobas well. But I've begun to wonder if stone has any properties that make it suited for certain types of food operations? A friend in Madras recently showed me the small kal-chatti she used to make yoghurt and she swears that nothing else is as good. She added that the vessel did have to be seasoned first which she did by packing it with salt for six months and then it would be ready. I'm not sure what stone is used for these kal-chattis - something relatively soft, I'm guessing, or they'd go mad making them. But could stone really have the water absorbing powers that I can see earthenware would have? Are there other benefits of using stone? And does the 'seasoning' really add anything? VikramPS: As a slight sidelight, I've just recovered a set of kal-chatti toys I bought ages back in Bangalore. There was this old man who used to sit on Mahatma Gandhi Road (would anyone understand if I said South Parade?) and I can almost pinpoint the location, it was close to where St.Mark's Rd starts, near that excellent pork shop and he sold these kitchen sets for kids - miniature grinding stones, jars, a stove, plates, iddli vessels, the works - all neatly carved out of stone. I thought my mother had thrown them away, but I've just found them again and am taking them off to Bombay to join the metal kids cookery set I picked up in the mill areas recently. Does anyone have memories of these kids cooking sets?