Tag Archives: Food

The Bitter Truth

By Titas Mazumdar

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Books, music, movies and the afternoon siesta after a heavy Bengali meal, is all that I crave for on my Sundays. Once the evening sets in my heart starts becoming heavy with the thought that another week to toil in office.

I always wanted to be free just like a bird and to some extent I enjoyed the taste of independence during my college days. But once I started  working my life felt all in chains. Everyday I reach office 10-15mins early so that I am not marked late and a part of my salary gets deducted. I can feel my phone vibrating in my jeans pocket yet I cannot pick it up or even check who had called up. Scared to open the news site, lest my IP address is being scanned through and my evening break is munching biscuit while researching for my next content. Ah that’s my life in office , working as slaves for some billionare.

Whenever my colleagues and I feel sleepy for working hours in front of the computer we take refuge to the nearby tea shop. The owner of this tea shop sell such a refreshing cup of tea that most of us simply ignored our office coffee. He might own a small tea shop by the roadside but the conversations with him are always  interesting. This man downloads films from the internet and watches them . To our surprise he even discussed Rittwick Ghatak and Rituparno Ghosh films with us. At times the topics would revolve around politics, current affairs and even spirituality.

On a gloomy Monday when one of my colleagues and I visited this tea shop found it to closed. Disappointed at this we had no other option but to sip the infamous ‘phenyl tea’ of our office. The next day when we enquired why he didn’t open his shop, he answered that he just wanted to stay at home with his family. We were quite surprised that he incurred a days loss but this man was unperturbed by it.  And the next thing he said simply got etched in my mind and I think its going to be there foreover.

‘My life is not like yours!! For the slightest mistake or absentism you people always in the tension that your boss will shout at you or in the worst case sack you from your job.   But here I am the boss no one is there to tell me anything. It might be just a small tea shop by the road but at least its my own’.

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Absinthe, a Tale of the Green Fairy!!

By Antara Roy

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Let’s start this post with a quirky food fact…Did you know a certain green fairy (read as absinthe) was banned for a century after a European Highness decided that crime evolved from this bottle of alcohol!!! Arguably the most delusional drinking spirit, it came back into productions only in 90s, and see, how our world decided to break free.

But drinking this spirit is a bit of a science in itself, I admit. Absinthe is one the most alcoholic distilled spirit found in the world, with a total alcoholic volume of 65% to 75%.  And so having it the right way is most crucial and important. It cannot be treated as a shot of tequila. Because of the simple reason, that it isn’t tequila. It is not a drink for a round of “bottoms-up” in a party!! Moreover it should never be consumed like that. Take your time to make it right. It’s an expensive bottle with a delicate flavour which has to be savoured, rather than gulped down the throat! In this post, I have mentioned a way I tend to use this green magic, which is quite appealing to our Indian taste and never-ever, will propel your minds criminally!!

Absinthe portrays a strong flavour of fennel (saunf), something that we Indians don’t consider a cocktail flavour. Our tastes compel us to associate fennel with mouth fresheners. After a hearty Indian meal, that paan walla’s paan (betel leaf laden with a sweet cocktail of fennel seeds, betel nuts and sweetened dry fruits) is what we grab out for. So for me, my first thought while having absinthe was, Paan!! And so I introduced my friends to an after meal liqueur, which is just about right for our matured, yet hearty Indian Tastes!!!

So if you are having a cocktail party, indulge your guests to a small helping of absinthe to end the party. Making a perfect glass of the green fairy is laborious, never-the-less very satisfying. One helping is good enough for 6 shot glasses and tends to be a well deserved end to a beautiful meal, the Indian way!!

Ingredients:

  • 30 ml absinthe
  • Ice (optional)
  • Cold water
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Absinthe strainer, comes with the bottle
  • 6 chilled shot glasses
  • 1 tall water tumbler

Method:

The first step is to make the apparatus required. Assemble the absinthe strainer and the sugar cube on tall water tumbler as shown here.

IMG_0011-004 Now pour in 30 ml of absinthe, passing it through the sugar cube.

IMG_0003-001 Slowly drip in cold water (drop-by-drop), and let it slowly dissolve in the sugar cube.

IMG_0005-001 Once the sugar dissolves in, adjust water to suit your taste. Remember, it is at least 60 % alcohol, so filling up the glass with a bit more water will be a good idea.

IMG_0016 Divide it equally between half a dozen shot glasses and enjoy!!

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For any further clarification, feel free to write in. Cheers!!

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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!

 

What Do I Need to Be Happy?

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore 

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What do we really need right now, to be happy?

A new car, a new house, a new friend…

What do we lack right now?

Does anything need to change in order for us to be happy?

What do we really need? Do we really need anything in order to be happy?

Powerful Questions. Food for thought.

Sharon Salzberg, the author of the book “The Kindness Handbook” (http://www.flipkart.com/kindness-handbook-practical-companion/p/itmdyjz4nhmhhgcq?pid=9781591796558&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=The+kindness+handbook&ref=fed7a838-4f9a-4347-ad86-ce392709fb79) shares her experience while staying at a monastery in South East Asia. At the monastery, there was generally no charge for staying and the food was donated by “groups or families who come to the center to make the offerings”. Therefore, the food that was provided was varied depending on the circumstances of those donating. Sometimes, bountiful. Sometimes, meager.

Sharon recounts: “Time after time, I went into the dining room for a meal and looked at the faces of the people who had made the offering, since they commonly come to watch you receive it. They would look radiant, so happy that they’d had an opportunity to feed us, to offer something that would help sustain us. They seemed so happy that we were going to be meditating, exploring the truth, and purifying our minds and hearts on the strength of their offering. In that moment, when they were so genuinely grateful for the chance to give, I would ask myself, ‘What do I really need right now in order to be happy?” I realized that I was getting fed a lot more by their joy and delight than I was by the actual food”.

As we journey through our manifold experiences in life, we yearn for happiness and spend time and energy looking for it. I have come to believe that performing acts of kindnesses is what brings me true, genuine and abiding happiness.

I asked some of our colleagues about what truly makes them happy. This is what they had to say:

… spending time with my family especially with my daughter makes me feel happy; when I work hard and do things differently, a bit of appreciation makes me feel happy.

… being truthful and down to earth even in a critical situation & living a simple life makes me happy.

… I feel happy when I can help my fellow people… and see them happy.

… talking to Dad makes me happy – his composed and relaxed voice reflecting patience & satisfaction with his accomplishments  gives me energy and motivation to keep trying until I succeed.

What makes you happy? What do you need to be happy?

Health Benefits of Broccoli

By Tahira

broccoli 1A member of the cabbage family, broccoli derives its name from the Italian plural broccolo meaning ‘flowering top of a cabbage’. Broccoli has been considered a valuable food among the Italians since the days of Roman Empire. There are mainly three types of broccoli – Calabrese Broccoli, Sprouting Broccoli and Purple Cauliflower.

With a plethora of health benefits, the broccoli is one of the healthiest foods in the world. Some of the health benefits of broccoli are:

Anti-Inflammatory: Broccoli is a rich source of flavonoid named kaempferol that helps battling inflammation and allergies.

Detoxification: The presence of three phytonutrients –  glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin has a strong impact on the body’s detoxification system.

Fights Vitamin D Deficiency: The presence of vitamins K and A in broccoli help keep the metabolism of Vitamin D in the body. Proper balance of Vitamin D promotes bone and health growth.

Rich Source of Fibre: A rich source of fibre helps lower cholesterol levels. It also facilitates digestion.

Good for Eye Health: Studies have shown that regular consumption of broccoli helps improving eye health. The presence of two major carotenoids- zeaxanthin and lutein is extremely good for eye health.

Supports Skin Repair: The substance glucoraphanin present in broccoli, when converted into sulforaphane helps in repairing skin damage – the result is you get a healthy glowing skin.

Rich in Potassium and Vitamin C: Potassium helps controlling high blood pressure while high Vitamin C ensures absorption of iron.

broccoli 2Cancer Fighting Abilities: The presence of glucoraphanin in broccoli, is processed by the human body into something (a compound) that is capable of preventing cancer. The vegetable is extremely rich in indole 3 carbinol that is a powerful antioxidant. Other anti-carcinogenic substances are known to prevent the development of prostate cancer, breast cancer and also cervical cancer. It also promotes the growth of a healthy liver.

Health organizations advise eating broccoli several times a week. However, remember, the vegetable has to be cooked properly. If it becomes too tender it might not retain the nutrients. So, always slow cook or rather boil or lightly sauté broccoli before having it.

My First Beer

By Joybrato Dutta

Q – What happens when a girl breaks a guy’s heart?

 Ans. – Two guys become the best of friends.

joy4Pic – Firangi and I flagging out our favourite T-shirts. Below you’ll notice a black thing. It’s CMKT’s trunk. 

It was a winter evening of 2003. Firangi and I were sitting in our balcony, speaking about topics which didn’t make sense (about love).  Amidst that mist we chanced upon a guy carrying a crate full of beer.

Cut to across the road. We were staring at a board which read ‘ADITYA WINE AND BEER SHOP’.

We had never tried alcohol nor were we too friendly with louts who were fond of it. Hum to apne Maa-baap ke ache bache the. As a result we weren’t really too sure of the brand and the kind. So considering the budget and the TV ads we decided to get a ‘Haywards 5000’.

As we were about to enter the shop, my girlfriend called. She sorted out our differences.

Now, wait a minute, I was about to get drunk because that’s what grown ups with broken hearts do. Now that the damage was re-paired (pun intended), I had no reason to drink. But I couldn’t leave a man behind. So I stormed into the shop and ordered for two Haywards 5000.

Initially my request was turned down, because we were under-age (we forgot about that). But then I told him that I was from Bihar and my friend was from U.P. That worked. We got the bottles to our apartment.

There was one more problem. My room-mate CMKT was the Nerdiest (MS Word says that’s not a real word) creature on the planet. He wouldn’t allow us to turn our educational abode into a bar. So, we decided to savour it before he returns. No sooner did this idea dawn upon us than the door-bell rang. CMKT was back. Panic struck. Somehow we managed to hide the bottles in a trunk. In CMKT’s trunk.

He came in and looked at our faces. We were trying to hide the expression of hiding the bottles. As usual he wanted to study, so he walked into his room and opened his trunk to take out his books.

Have you even been unfortunate enough to watch the entire episode of any Ekta Kapoor soap? You’ll surely see a scene where a particular reaction is replayed thrice, just to reiterate the significance of that particular emotion. That’s exactly what his reaction was. He lectured us in a dad-like way. Like prodigal sons Firangi and I took the bottles and walked into the other bedroom.

Beer tasted like shit the first time. But we were so used to taking shit from our fate that we continued consuming it. Finally we finished our beer. We weren’t drunk but we wanted to be drunk, so we got drunk.

Piece of gyaan – Alcohol makes you brave.

Firangi and I stormed into CMKT’s room and abused him in a way he couldn’t imagine. We scared the shit out of that poor thing. We abused him using words like Loser, Virgin, and a few harsh ones. He was devastated. Before his sars could start bleeding, his eyes started peeing. He left the room in tears.

Such was the experience; we decided to face it more times.

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And that was the beginning of the two greatest alcoholics our friends will ever know.

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Sharing = Caring = Making a Difference

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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The Mumbai Dabbawala’s deliver 120 tons of food each day, out of which 16 tons is uneaten.

At the same time, on Mumbai’s streets, there are two hundred thousand children who go hungry every day.

The ‘Share My Dabba’ initiative, a joint effort between the Happy Life Welfare Society and The Dabbawala Foundation, gets the leftover food in dabbas to the hungry street children using a tiny sticker and the extensive and efficient dabbawala network.

The dabbawalas separate the dabbas marked with the sticker & volunteers share the food with the hungry children.

Here’s a video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZC1czZofyY

A simple sticker that demonstrates that SHARING = CARING.

A small gesture that makes a difference to 200,000 and more children every single day.

Food for thought.