Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Waste Not!

Okay, I have been tagged by the exuberant madmomma to provide one tip we could follow with regards to the food crisis. I am going to go ahead and interpret it, with some disclaimers.

I live in an idealistic world inside a utopian bubble. I rarely, rarely, form opinions about things that are currently happening in the real world. Keywords swirl around my head from newspapers and discussions and conversations with mum. Over the years, I have discovered that the moment I form a strong opinion about something, an argument comes along, usually from the other side, that make sense, sort of, and makes me want to think again, a little deeper this time. In resolving conflicts in one of the roles I play at work, I come across this almost every day. I am tempted to agree to something because it sounds logical, but then boom! someone comes along and tells me the other side of the story, and then my decision does not sound so good any more. Its like, the person should be shown no mercy for the murder committed, but then, if the person was, perhaps, insane, then, perhaps, you want to re-think your initial harsh stance. Not that I am screaming murder now. But just saying that the Kenny of the twenties that tended to shout out from the roof-tops is replaced by a more cautious one, who relates events to herself, and tries to lead her life differently rather than tell others anything.
So, if you tell me that suddenly the world has woken up to the fact that food should not be wantonly wasted, then, I will think, yes, I was always aware of this, but, let me go in and examine my refrigerator, my kitchen cupboard, and really, I must do something about the banana situation at home (they go from raw to over-ripe in seconds..).

Besides that, are some recipes. The thing that is carried over to the next meal in my house is invariably rice. We are veggie freaks and, as such rarely allow much (cooked) vegetable to carry over. In recent times, due to an unpredictable up-and-down in my husband's appetite for rice, we have had a lot of rice hanging out in the fridge. The recipes are not original by any means, but just stuff I make and find tasty.

1. Puliodarai/Puliogre/Pulihora. Call it what you want baby, this one packs the punch. Traditionally made from old rice. Put the rice out from the fridge for half an hour or so. Just so it thaws a bit. MTR makes a mean Puliogre powder. But very spicy. I get mine made by some enterprising individual back home. Rice-Til Oil-The Powder, mix it all up evenly. Eat with curd.

2. Pakoras. This due to mum-in-law. Consumes small amount of rice. Cut up onions, coriander, chillies (if you wish), mix with the rice, mushing it all up with your hand. You may add some rice-atta or rava if you want. Deep fry*.

* For deep frying, I typically don't bring out the giant kadai, although its admittedly more convenient. I use a small (non-stick) tadka pan, so that the oil that gets used (and left over) is small in amount. Used oil can clog your arteries, blah blah. I have never been able to pour it away for this reason though. Indians are classic re-cyclers. Ask my colleague who tried to get used cooking oil to make biodiesel out of. Five-star kitchens sell to three-star ones to small hotels to roadside stalls and so forth. I am like that. Or rather, being somewhat cautious of my heart and what not, I tend to deep fry very rarely so the question of what to do with the oil does not arise too often. And when I do deep fry I painstakingly use the small tadka pan.

3. Rice Pancake. I found this in a Tarla Dalal book (I think). Grate carrots, cucumbers to the rice. Add in rice flour, some water. Pat it thin with wet fingers onto a kadai, or non-stick pan. Cook, adding in some oil to the edges as you would to a dosa. It browns & becomes crispy in parts when its done. Eat with chutney powder.

Whatever the current situation, whatever the current prices of things, I think wasting food is *not* an option now, or ever. I used to be a picky and poor eater as a child, and the thought that I used to be wasteful of food fills me with shame. The story of the rice grains going up to god and crying because I wasted it still rings in my ears. My husband was far less tolerant of this, once we were together. He just gave me a nice good yelling, and would insist I finish what I took on my plate. The child is pretty much just not given an option. Sometimes when she has spent an hour eating the same thing and its ice-cold and nasty, I might allow the remainder to be popped into an adult mouth. On a daily basis, its easy to be disciplined.


Neha said...

Lol... rice grains going up to god and crying?
I used to be pretty fussy (you'd say I still am, I KNOW it!) about food, and would refuse to finish what was on my plate if I didn't like it. Then one day, uncle J gave me a loooong sermon on how millions of people don't have ANYTHING to eat, and with so many children starving to death everyday, and so many more living with their bones poking through their skin and their insides dying away, I had no right to reject food just because i didn't like the taste of it. Uncle J can be scary, and he was. I meekly ate the thing i was about to toss in the dust bin.

I still fuss about food, but even if i don't like it, i eat it (after 'making faces', of course :P ). I'm all against wasting food, and am quite fond of giving that same talk i received, almost verbatim, to the girls in the hostel, who nonchalantly dump mountains of rice into the waste bin in the kitchen. it doesn't have much of an effect, though... :(

kbpm said...

the wastage is hostels is atrocious. girls hostels are horrid. you should get them to fine people for wasting food (we have tried that, though its a bit subjective here with 400 girls and therefore 800 internal rivalries!)