Monthly Archives: August 2013

Culinary Histories – The Seafood

By Tahira

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The culinary enthusiast that I am, my life almost revolves around food. Even if I am not concocting up yet another delicacy in the kitchen, I either end up reading recipes or books on the history of food. Since I am a hard-core non-vegetarian, nothing really misses out from my platter. So this time, I thought of indulging in some research work about Seafood (I love crabs by the way). The resultant effect is this ‘juicy’ post on seafood.

Any form of sea life that is regarded as food by humankind is termed as Seafood. Seafood mainly comprises shellfish and fish. Shellfish on the other hand includes the sub-categories of molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans. Certain sea mammals such as dolphins and whales have also been consumed; but consumption of such meats is rarely prevalent in present times. On the other hand, certain edible sea plants, such as micro algae and seaweed are widely consumed all across the world. The cultivation and farming of seafood is known as mariculture or acquaculture or sometimes simply fish farming. From the dietary and nutritional point of view, seafood is a rich source of protein.

Seafood in the Ancient Era

dreamstime_7335859Archaeological studies have found that the harvesting and consumption of seafood can be traced back to the Palaeolithic Age. Going forward a little, cultivation and extensive consumption of sea food was extremely prevalent among the ancient Egyptians. This is not where it ends; from Japan in the Far East to Israel in Middle East to the north Americas – fishing has had its history since a long-long time.

seafood 1Evidences show that seafood was not only consumed in ancient Greece or Rome, but fishing was in vogue. Though, fishing as an activity or practice was considered somewhat lowly among the ancient Greeks, nonetheless consumption of seafood was definitely prevalent. Types of sea fishes, like anchovies and sardines were commonly sold in the market of Athens.

On the other hand, fish trade was a common activity in Israel. Merchants were actively involved in the import and export of fish across boundaries with Jerusalem as the hub. Fish and seafood trade was so prevalent, that one of the gates of Jerusalem was called Fish Gate.

Seafood and the Far East
In the Far East, China scores over its neighbour Japan over fish cultivation and trading. Acquaculture in China can be traced back to 3500 BC with the extensive farming of the common carp. Live fish trade was encourages by the Chinese emperors during the 1300s AD.

seafood 2Japan, on the other hand, started with fish trading much later only until the 8th century. Fish was mainly consumed along with rice. Fish was usually salted and then wrapped in fermented rice. This practice later gave birth to the delicacy known as sushi today. By the early 1800s food stalls selling sushi became quite popular in Tokyo.

Today, seafood is considered a delicacy and it available is most parts of the world, especially coastal regions and islands. Culinary enthusiasts can enjoy anything – from Octopus to Crabs – from Squids to Oysters.  Bon Appetite!

 

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Traffic Woes And Kochi

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By Malathy Madathilezham

What are the uses of roads?

1. It is an obstacle course intended to test the skills?

2. It is a rain water drain?

3. Garbage disposal unit?

4. Who cares!!!!

Well the the people in charge of the maintenance/construction of road in Kochi would definitely select the fourth option I guess!! I say ‘people’ because even that is a question that I don’t have a proper answer to!!! Public Works Department? National Highways Authority of India?The Corporation??

Lot of confusion…so I am not getting into that.

I, like many other Kochiites, need to travel to reach my office every morning and come back in the evening. Now what is supposed to be a very simple 5 to 8 km distance to be covered has been made more interesting with a well designed obstacle course, with puddles or stones to be avoided, streams of water and other miscellaneous stuff to make the ride more interesting! You know in case we get bored! Whichever route you take, the road provide you ample entertainment, thrills and a very slow tour of the city for those of you tourists!

Kochi is growing. Yes, it definitely is! But good roads are substantially important for any city, growing or not! After all transport of men and material is important for any commercial activity. Accidents are just one of the hazards. Imagine after paying hefty road taxes, the long term impacts on our body by travelling on these disgracefully bumpy paths, that are supposed to be called ‘roads’! I think we should sue the authorities for the irreparable physical damage to our bodies!!!

Everyday morning, I get up, the thought of going to office scares me. It puts me off because of these dreadful paths… All I want is the right (luxury?) of being able to ride/drive to office in reasonably good roads, without having to dodge the puddles or holes, water streams etc… Is that too much to ask????

Movie Review: Satyagraha: Poor Story Except In Bits

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By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, & Manoj Bajpayee.

Introduction: The message is loud and clear. And Satyagraha adds no new aspect to the revolution.

Premise: Only if you are news blind, you will miss the fact that this one is based on the Arvind Kejriwal & Anna Hazare movement.

Plot: Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a school teacher who lives by the Gandhian principles, Maanav Raghvendra (Ajay Devgn) is a NRI business magnet. At the core it’s the story of these two individuals. How a shrewd businessman becomes a nationalist and then becomes part of the revolution.

Acting: Amitabh Bachchan is brilliant as he underplays his character, the portions where he really breaks down with citizen kanesque acts he is let down by his editors, Ajay Devgn disappoints this time though, the punch is missing in his dialogue delivery. Kareena Kapoor looks less of a journalist and more like an add on. The whistles might be heard but Manoj Bajpayee character is becoming caricaturish now. Arjun Rampal has a miniscule role but his heart is worn on his sleeves.

Technical Insight: The script disappoints, Anjum Rajabali can learn a thing or two with changing times, you will feel like re reading the newspapers all over again with very little entertainment value, editing is hopelessly bad, scenes of highest emotions has been killed by lazy edits. Cinematography though is brilliant especially the revolution bit. The music is a sore bore except for Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. Prakash Jha, maybe out of commercial compulsions gives in, sir atleast once give us a Damul again.

Kela moments: Many actually. The songs weren’t needed. And how on earth Kareena Kapoor is the only journalist covering the agitation?

Citizen Kane moments: Amitabh Bachchan consoling his widowed daughter in law Amrita Rao, the scene where Mr. Bachchan breaks down when he returns to the scene of his son’s death and Mr. Bachchan scene where he tells Devgn he will miss him when he is gone.

Brownie Points: 2.5/5.

Health and Wellness – Part II

By Tahira

health 2We often discuss health. But what is health – rather good health. We referred to the dictionary for the first post, but – to be very honest, good health is difficult to define. However, keeping in mind that bad health is equated with the presence of a disease, ideally good health should not only be the absence of a disease but, from a broader perspective good health should encompass a much positive idea about both – mental and physical fitness.

Every individual’s health is defined by several perspectives including social circumstances, medical care, behavioural patterns and also attitude towards life in general. So, healthcare in general is an important aspect in an individual’s life since good health does ensure happiness. While healthcare largely refers to prevention, treatment and of course managing health properly, our behaviour related to health is largely shaped by our own values; upbringing and also the kind of company one keeps. Healthy individuals succeed in completely mobilising all their resources – both mental and physical – thus enhancing their chances of survival and leading a happy fulfilling life.

health 4Achieving full health quotient, more so remaining healthy is an active process that requires constant efforts. Natural health is normally based on prevention of diseases while keeping our mind and body under complete control of ourselves. It is more about striking a balance and maintaining the same throughout through three major aspects – a balanced diet, right amount of physical exercises and proper regulation of emotions. Once we have been able to achieve this balance – health along with happiness is definitely ours.

A Look Inside Myanmar’s First Real Year Of Democracy – 1

Jack Hoyle comes back with his second pictorial blog. From cricket, he makes a move to politics and democracy in Myanmar. Here’s his work behind the lens as Myanmar completes a year of democracy.

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Monks await the arrival of The Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi. A reported 100,000 people flocked to hear her give a speech. It was the first time she had visited Mandalay since her release from house arrest.

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Aung San Suu Kyi was over six hours late, due to the huge numbers of people in the streets cheering along her motorcade. Monks huddle together to keep warm, while another spectator shields himself from the rain with a poster of The Lady.

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A monk sewing.

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Workers load a boat in Mandalay, shored on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

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A boy holds up a captured bird. This particular bird is often sold as street food along the roadside.

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Myanmar youths have found a new sense of confidence since the democratic reforms. Previously people, particularly the young, would have been persecuted for wearing such ‘daring’ attire, where as these days it’s a common sight.

Exploring Goa – XXIII – It’s About the Palolem Beach-lings Now!

By Kartik Kannan

image006It’s tough to  not notice the colorful cottages along the beach stretch. While you catch a beer with the folks who run the shacks,  they will tell you that it costs them about 100,000 INR to set up 4 shacks. Since Goa has a rule of no permanent structures on the beach, these shacks are built every year in October, and are pulled out and stored in a nearby warehouse in April-before the monsoons. So the shacks that have a median price of 300-1000 normally, peaks upto 2500-4000 closer to the Christmas/New Year season.

image007When you sleep over, and wake up the next morning, you would realize that mornings make for some nice peaceful walks to explore Palolem, in all the colour and splendour of the Goan boats, when the rest of the beach is yet to wake up!

image010The Goan shack owners obviously care for their higher revenue segment customers from the west, so they adequately instruct early birds, to not disturb ‘the sleepy people’.

image008While you wander early in the morning, there are no cafes open to serve breakfast. Once I’ve had my bath, I usually start feeling ravenously hungry, and I realize I have very few options. The best option is to get into town on your 2 wheeler, and get some Misaal Paav’s for breakfast!

image009Sometimes, when a café is open, you’d have to just set your gaze on the Salt and Pepper bottles on the table, or the sea that’s out of focus in the background, since your Omlette or Tea is being prepared in the Sussegaad Goan way. But one of the special mentions I’d have is for ‘Ma-Rita’ café, whose French Toast and Potato Cheese Soup are brilliant!

Single Woman In A Village

malathy in a village

By Malathy Madathilezham 

This is the first time I am living on my own in a remote little place in Maharashtra (actually not as remote as some of the other places my travels have taken me.. but yet). This is my first job after graduating from Tata Institute of Social Sciences this March.

All my life I have been travelling. “I have studied in 14 different schools!” is something you will hear me say as part of my introduction. Yeah I know its a bit corny but yet. But all the traveling and living has been in a sheltered and protected manner and largely very comfortable. The culture and way of living mostly urban. I have never experienced rural life until very recently during the course of my two year study and the training that I received in my organisation. I have read enough and more but experiencing it shows how different life in ‘Bharat’ is from that in ‘India’. Even more so being a woman…

No, I am not going on a tirade against gender discrimination here… don’t worry. Just a few points on what I constantly find myself thinking about.

I am really privileged. Yes, I am. My birth has guaranteed me certain success in life even if I am mediocre in my performance. Unless off course I am really stupid or have real bad luck!! I cannot imagine being born a woman in one of these villages. Off course then I would simply be blissful in my ignorance and thankful about whatever I have.

(Lack of) Information is power. This is the game people play here. It is not that there are not enough government schemes, or opportunities to help people. But there is no smooth flow of the information regarding these to those who need it. Illiteracy is not the only reason here. A few people have the monopoly over the access to this information and they try their best to keep that monopoly.

The slow pace of life. Its really slow. In addition, the more you make someone wait, the more important you are. This is the culture here. Getting used to it takes time.

A single woman living (so far) away from her parents and native is a shock for many. “ Even boys will not be so daring!” was a quip by a Gram Sevika when I told her that I am from Kerala. Everyone is curious to know what I am doing here. To add to that curiosity is the fact that I have really short hair right now. So then dealing with the number of questions that a random shopkeeper, autowala or tai on the road can sometimes be simply frustrating! There are days that I don’t feel like going out to avoid this!

I love to cook!! I never thought I would say this but it is true! Yeah am not so organised or planned as my mother but yet I realise that I actually look forward to cooking something different and tasty everyday .

Well that is it for now… Looking forward to more learning and understanding the rural reality…