When I left Afghanistan for the first time in 2007, I headed to India to regroup before returning to the states.

After a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat in Northern India, I found myself in the beautiful South Indian coastal town of Kerala. Between Ayurveda treatments, I fell in love with the food there – fresh, mainly vegetarian. I particularly fell in love with dosa, which is a type of crepe made of rice flour and stuffed with potatoes, onions, turmeric, coriander seeds, and curry leaves. It is served with Sambhar, a lentil soup made with toor dal, eggplant, squash, carrots, turmeric, coriander and surry leaves.

I met Gita through an Indian man whom I met at a farm stand on Johns Island. I told him about Transformation Table and asked him if he knew anyone whom I might find to cook. He didn’t hesitate and said “Gita.”

Along with her husband, Jaypal, they own India Spice, an Indian grocery store in West Ashley. When I told Gita I loved South Indian food, she came up with a South Indian menu that took me back to Kerala. Fantastic.

This was a dinner of firsts. This was our first dinner in Goose Creek, and Nisly and her husband Ivan were the perfect hosts. Beautiful spirit and heart, both of them. We also had our first teen at the table! Rose, along with her sister Rama, attended dinner and it was refreshing to hear from a young person. She and Rama shared what it was like to move back and forth between Jordan and the United States as young women. We spoke a lot about been ya and come ya, and the impact of the huge influx of people moving into the area, some of us who were at the table. We had a very special moment when jazz singer extraordinaire, and local jewel Ann Caldwell, graced us with her beautiful voice. Another Transformation Table first!

Our Hosts: Ivan and Nilsy Rapalo

“It was an honor for us to host Transformation Table in our house.

Open your heart to strangers, to people who are different than you, it was an opportunity to share our table with other human beings beyond labels. This experience allowed us to laugh and love in the same night when you learned and share stories, songs and dreams.

Gracias, muchas gracias.”

Our Chef: Gita Soni

“I felt so good sharing Indian food with the table and it was a very good opportunity for me to join this group. It was my first experience cooking for Transformation Table, and I am looking forward to doing more of this again. It feels like the whole world is becoming one.  It was a good experience to work with Miss Tina Singleton and I learned a lot.”

Contact: India Spice, 843.203.6470
Facebook: @India Spice Charleston

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