I've had friends and relatives who seem to be able to whip up fantastic dishes with the help of the magicians at different ready made spice mix purveyors (Eastern Brand, Pataks and MTR, to name a few). Well, I'm swearing off that formula. In the past month, I tried a Fish curry masala, a curry sauce straight from the bottle and a Bombay biriyani mix. I was religious in measuring out all the ingredients, sticking to the recipe, and all that jazz. All I can say is that none of them lived up my mom's good old "crunch the fresh spices in a pestle, yaar" approach. So, it's goodbye, masalas-out-of-a- pouch, welcome back little wood mortar-and-pestle.