Legacy of Old Fashioned Gourmet
Old Fashioned Gourmet also known as Aravali Foods, is a niche food brand founded by the Late Smt. Shyamlata Sihare in 1993.
Despite being born into an illustrious family in Kanpur in 1928, she was a child widow at the age of 16, only to be mistreated by her in-laws. Her grandfather would have none of it and brought her back to her maternal home. She then homeschooled all the way to her post graduation. That was not the end of her quest for knowledge for she knew she was meant for much more in life. She persuaded her family to send her to the US for further studies. And so in 1964, this hindi speaking widow from the Hindu heartland headed to Michigan State University to pursue her MA in Advertising. It was journey indeed full of challenges, but she was resilient and tenacious.
She came back after her graduation and joined her family business for few years and then set up her own business in 1970 and became the first Woman Paper Merchant in the Delhi's all-male Paper Market becoming a successful businesswoman in her own right.
She was a very enterprising woman, despite having a thriving Paper trading business she chose to venture into the Food at the age of 65. Food was her true passion and thus she created this brand to revive heirloom recipes of pickles and spices.
She realized the value of our rich food heritage. Despite being born into a wealthy Marwari family she and her sisters were taught how to do all household chores from a very early age. Pickle making being one of them. In the olden days, pickle making was a family event. All the ladies of the house would sit around and make pickles from seasonal fruits and vegetables for the entire year. Pickle making started with purchasing the best spices, sorting, sun-drying and then hand-pounding them to perfection.
She was very popular amongst her family and friends. Buaji to many and Amma to a few, she would always have people over for a meal at her home in New Delhi. People loved the food she affectionately invited them for. It was a quintessential Marwari meal in a silver thali, which was the norm at her house. They often asked her the secret behind the delectable flavors, to which she would always say "the key to any food is in the ingredients". She used only the best ingredients in her home food and the same in all her products.
Just like in the olden days, pickles were made at home using the best ingredients and natural techniques of fermentation, her pickles too are handcrafted using the same artisanal techniques, with the best of selection of spices. She only used premium ingredients like Sendha namak, Kabuli Hing, Cold pressed oils in all her pickles.
It was her last wish that we keep her legacy alive. She passed way in 2014 at the age of 85. She was very peaceful in her passing.
Continuing this brand is our little endeavor to honor her hardwork, life and passion.
Vasundhara Jhunjhunwala, her daughter who misses her dearly