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BY N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE
With an exponentially rising number of cases of COVID-19 all over the globe, strict codes of conduct have been implemented to cope with the new normal. To educate people who are struggling to fit into the new world, from buying the basic essentials for daily use, Chef Ritesh Negi, Corporate Executive Chef, Radisson MBD Group, debunk the myths around the consumption of frozen food during an interview with IANSlife.
Q. Is frozen food healthier than fresh?
Negi: Frozen food has different categories like frozen meats, frozen vegetables, and frozen ready-to-eat food. It has always been a part of our life, and we have been consuming it for a very long time. For instance, frozen green peas have been a regular part of our homely diets for generations. Trickling down from our grandmothers to our mothers, everyone has had a taste of peas in their daily diet, and we have never questioned its nutritional values. Similarly, frozen berries and Italian canned tomatoes have also been a regular in kitchens.
The point to be conveyed is that the act of freezing doesn’t make food any less healthy. The health aspect of food depends entirely on its nutritional content and how it’s preserved while being frozen. It is also imperative to weigh the composition, for instance, a cooked curry or pizza might not be able to withhold the nutritive quotient of food while frozen peas and meat will.
With tough times ahead of us and the current situation taking us off-guard, the entire game plan of the food industry is bound to witness a paradigm shift. There will be more preserved vegetables, meat, and other products in the market, which will take the lead and be utilised for daily consumption. And as a matter of fact, some of the nutritionists are observed saying how vegetables are destined to be “frozen” as they are harvested at a time when their freshness and nutritional value are at the peak of their ripeness.
Q. Does frozen food have the same nutrition as fresh?
Negi: The freezing technique guarantees the freshness of the food for a longer period, meanwhile maintaining its nutritional values. Thus, making it very safe for us to consume frozen meat which has been processed, packed, and delivered under appropriate guidelines and temperature. Vendors have been advised to pack the frozen meat and vegetables with airtight heavy-duty packagings such as foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper.
Freezing is known to increase the shelf life of the food without compromising with the nutritious components of it and freezing does not affect the calorie count, fiber content, or minerals value of the food as well. Without compromising with any of the content, including fat, protein or carbohydrates, frozen food has undoubtedly become a healthy companion of ours. However, it is recommended that while purchasing frozen products, one should look for content value with less sodium and sugar in it.
The nutrition in the frozen chicken is similar to that of the fresh-cut one where the former has to pass the quality tests to be retailed in the supermarkets. The taste of the frozen meat is subjective to its cooking style, method of preparation, and infusion of other ingredients while cooking the same. Nonetheless, one is still advised to take precautions and be conscious to check the nutritional content printed on its packaging.
Q: With the new normal of social distancing, how do you see the market value of frozen food?
Negi: CoronaVirus has created a state of chaos and has left people with fewer choices of picking essential items on a daily basis and to stock up their shelves to avoid going out of their homes. The frozen category has seen a massive surge in the same with poultry playing a vital role as an essential commodity with longer shelf life and having high nutritional value.
Moving forward I personally see frozen food will be the new kid in the block, especially frozen meats such as chicken, etc. People will be inclined towards safe branded frozen meat products which can be used for hot cooking.
Measures for people to follow to consume safely packed meat?
*Check the manufacturing and expiry date on the back of the frozen meat before buying and use it accordingly. Also, look for the FSSAI sign on it for authenticity.
*To try and avoid thawing meats with running water or microwaving them before cooking. Rather, put frozen meat in a bowl and let it thaw slowly inside the refrigerator only for a few hours. It is very important to thaw frozen meat products in the temperature-controlled zone which is at 5-degree celsius.
*Understand the significance of washing the meat thoroughly for at least 3-4 times after thawing. Suma tabs (a chlorine release agent) can also be used for the meat, with advised PPM concentration. Post using of suma tab, one more wash with freshwater is important and then it should be cooked immediately.
*Do not refrigerate thawed meat again rather consume it immediately after cooking.
*Avoid cold cuts of meats etc. which are used for making sandwiches, salads etc. This has also been advised by the experts as per the Food Safety Guidelines issued in the public interest.
The key highlight of having frozen meat, thus remains, to store it under favorable temperature and not freeze it on loop to avoid meddling with the quality. (IANS)
Diwali is arguably one of the most auspicious and celebrated holidays in South Asia. It is celebrated over the span of five days, where the third is considered most important and known as Diwali. During Diwali people come together to light, lamps, and diyas, savour sweet delicacies and pray to the lord. The day has various origin stories with the main them being the victory of good over evil. While the North celebrates the return of Lord Rama and Devi Sita to Ayodhya, the South rejoices in the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over evil Narakasura.
Narakasura- The great mythical demon King
Naraka or Narakasur was the son of Bhudevi (Goddess Earth) and fathered either by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu or Hiranyaksha. He grew to be a powerful demon king and became the legendary progenitor of all three dynasties of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa, and the founding ruler of the legendary Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.
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Narakasura was created, grew up to be strong and powerful but he was not satisfied with it, so he decided that he would worship Lord Brahma. He performed severe penance and was driven by the power of his penance; Lord Brahma appeared before him. Narakasura knew his mother loved him dearly so he asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon that he would only die by the hands of his mother, Bhumidevi. Lord Brahma smile and ultimately granted him the boon.
Narakasura burst out laughing as Lord Brahma vanished. He thought no mother would kill their child so Lord Brahma had made him immortal. Drunk and maddened by his own power Narakasura brought all the kingdoms under his control and targeted Swargalok (Heaven). Even Indra (King of Gods) and demi-gods had to retreat in front of Narakasura. He kidnapped and took 16,000 women from the palaces as prisoners. Troubled by Naraksura's deeds the gods rushed to Lord Vishnu for a solution.
Lord Krishna and Devi Satyabhama were born to kill Narakasura
Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Krishna and Narakasura's mother Bhumidevi took the avatar of Krishna's wife Satyabhama. As Satyabhama, Bhumidevi was unaware of the knowledge of Naraksura being her son. Aditi the mother of all gods approached Satyabhama crying for help with bloodied ears as Narakasura had torn off the glowing earrings from the ears of Aditi.
Satyabhama was furious on gaining the knowledge of Narakasura's atrocities she asked Krishna to fight the demon king while she fights alongside him. Krishna agreed and they attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama.
The furious battle unleashed. Krishna defeated Narakasura's general Mura and came to be known as Murari (the killer of Mura). Narakasura used several divine weapons against Krishna, but Krishna slew all those weapons effortlessly. The demon hurled a shakti towards Krishna, which mildly hurt Krishna and he fell unconscious. Upon this sight Satyabhama was enraged, she furiously pulled out a weapon of her own and hurled it at Narakasura's chest. Anxious Satyabhama turned to her fallen Lord, Krishna got up with a smile and he was completely fine. He was only playing his part. It was Satyabhama who was an incarnation of Bhoomidevi, whose hands were destined to slay Narakasura.
ALSO READ: Choosing Environment-Friendly Diwali
Lord Krishna and Goddess Satyabhama had put an end to the Narakasura's kingdom of evil. As Narakasura lay on his deathbed he realised that Satyabhama was no one but an avatar of his own mother. He requested a boon from his mother, for no one to mourn his death. Instead, he wished for people to celebrate it with light and colours. They freed the 16,000 women who later married Lord Krishna to restore them of their honour in society, retrieved Mother goddess's earrings. This day is celebrated as 'Naraka Chaturdashi' popularly known as Choti Diwali - the day before Diwali as the triumph of good over evil.
Keywords: Diwali festival, goddess Laxmi, demon king, Lord Krishna, Satyabhama, the festival of light, Naraksura, Narak Chaturdashi
For all the great inventions that we have at hand, it is amazing how we keep going back to the safety pin every single time to fix everything. Be it tears in our clothes, to fix our broken things, to clean our teeth and nails when toothpicks are unavailable, to accessorize our clothes, and of course, as an integral part of the Indian saree. Safety pins are a must-have in our homes. But how did they come about at all?
The safety pin was invented at a time when brooches existed. They were used by the Greeks and Romans quite extensively. A man named Walter Hunt picked up a piece of brass and coiled it into the safety pin we know today. He did it just to pay off his debt. He even sold the patent rights of this seemingly insignificant invention just so that his debtors would leave him alone.
Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement in the 70s. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Later, he even invented the sewing needles and a couple of other important inventions but never kept any of the patent rights.
When the punk rock tradition took over in the seventies, safety pins became a fashion rage. They were used as piercings and to patch clothes together. Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement. In some cultures, the safety pins have become symbols of good luck.
Keywords: Safety-pins, Punk Rock, Brass, Accessories, Walter Hunt
In South India, Deepavali marks the end of the monsoon and heralds the start of winter. The festival is usually observed in the weeks following heavy rain, and just before the first cold spell in the peninsula. The light and laughter that comes with the almost week-long celebration are certainly warm to the bones, but there is still a tradition that the South Indians follow to ease their transition from humidity to the cold.
Just before the main festival, the family bathes in sesame oil. This tradition is called 'yellu yennai snaana' in Kannada, or 'ennai kuliyal' in Tamil, which translates to 'sesame oil bath'. The eldest member of the family applies three drops of heated oil on each member's head. They must massage this oil into their hair and body. The oil is allowed to soak in for a while, anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. After this, they must wash with warm water before sunrise.
Women applying oil to the heads of men Photo credit: Indians in Kuwait
In some parts of the peninsula, soap is not used to wash off the oil because it nullifies its effects. Some cultures who do not like the oil to remain in any way on their skin wash it off with shikakai and herbs, which is a paste that is traditionally used as a substitute for soap. Sometimes, the oil is heated with flowers and spices as well and is less sticky than in its pure form.
The purpose of this ritual is to cleanse the body, detoxify it, and produce heat in it. Sesame is a very heaty substance and tends to heat up the body. This heat, or 'usshna' in Kannada, prepares the body to face the sudden cold that comes to the peninsula immediately after Diwali. South India has no smooth transition weather-wise from monsoon to winter. There are a few days of stable, rainless weather, and suddenly the cold winds descend.
In many ways, the celebration of Diwali is centered around preparing for winter, considering the amount of heat and light the rituals consist of – lighting lamps, bursting crackers, and consuming warm treats. Those who practice these rituals earnestly find the shift in seasons and weather quite pleasant.
Keyboards: Sesame Oil Bath, Diwali Ritual, Traditional Sesame Oil Bath