Why Independence In Local Cuisines Is A Good Idea

A country’s cuisine is an important part of its identity. But some countries don’t like to carve out their own identities and it’s a very surprising turn of events. Curry, for example, is a very popular Indian dish, and it is also a much loved part of Bengali cuisine (cuisine of Bangladesh and the West Bengal state of India). Meat curries, with a gravy base is a traditional food item in Bangladeshi cuisine, but fish curries seem to be the most popular kind of curry in India, instead of meat curries.

Pakistani cuisine, however, is very different and it is a perfect demonstration of how not every country likes to preserve a sense of independence in their local cuisine. A Pakistani breakfast is a blend of the English breakfast of scrambled eggs, a slice of bread or the Indian and Bangladeshi blend of roti and parathas, as well as a Westernized cuisine slant of minced meat, paired with a cup of tea or coffee, seasonal fruits, such as mango and apples, milk, honey, butter and jam. Similarly, a Pakistani lunch is a blend of Indian and Bengali cuisine: it comprises meat curry, with rice or roti. A Pakistani dinner comprises the Indian and Bangladeshi blend of pilaf and the Middle Eastern blend of kebabs, which are very popular particularly in Iraq, Iran and Israel.

To prepare pilaf you have to cook rice in a seasoned broth and it’s very popular in India and Bangladesh, probably because it’s a rice-based dish; rice is the staple dish in Japan, China, Bangladesh and India. There is no originality in Pakistani cuisine at all. Everything is borrowed from the West, or its neighbours even though Pakistan as a country is nothing like its neighbours or the West.

It’s almost as if tasting Pakistani cuisine means sampling Western, Middle Eastern, Bengali or Indian cuisine because the culinary tastes of Pakistan have adopted and made its own the culinary tastes of countries, whose cuisines I have always enjoyed and found very fascinating. It would be grand if, for a change, Pakistani cuisine showed a sense of independence from the local culinary tastes of India, Bangladesh, the Middle East and the West.

It’s PJ Time!

It's PJ Time!


Should our food be packaged before they are sold?

Packaging meat and selling them in supermarkets will help keep it fresher for longer

I have always been a big fan of fast food. Burgers, french fries and soda are meals that almost seem impossible to live without some days – it is a little bit like packaged frozen mince meat which when you get the free time it’s fun to bring back home from your nearby supermarket and cook up a storm. But a concern over meat packaging has been prevailing  lately and it’s connection to the environment: packaging for meat has actually always been looked upon as an environmentally damaging option to sell meat in supermarkets.

And yet, this is where criticism directed at food packaging is very wrong because it is not a wasteful practice to package meats and sell them at all. In fact, packaging helps both the environment and food remain fresher for longer. Vacuum packaging specifically helps meat to be tender from before and also increase its lifespan from two-to-four days to five-to-eight days. It’s not only meat but cheese and dairy products benefits from well-thought out approaches to packaging them and this problem with the freshness of food is actually finding a good number of solutions. Earlier on, simply delivering food from farms to stores could mean that their freshness was no longer intact and this would in turn increase a lot of waste getting produced.

Furthermore, there was also trouble with shoppers not always buying fresh produce and stores being compelled to sell them at huge price cutoffs before the food would go completely spoiled and become non-salable food items. When food goes to waste, it damages our environment because plenty of resources, such as water and fuel were made use of to create that food in the first place. Consuming meat is also increasing tenfold for many countries, like China and India as populations begin to include it in their diets so keeping meat fresh for consumers, with the help of good grocery packaging should be an optimal trade concern for supermarkets because not only will it be a very green-friendly idea, it would also help cut down waste for trade and agricultural production.

Growing Up with Talk Shows 

Food and nonsensical drama

When I was still in school, one of the busiest times of the day during the week was the afternoon. Coming right back home from six hours of school-time meant I was obviously tired, and very hungry. My lunchbox wouldn’t contain anything extraordinary: there were no sushi rolls, miso soup, burgers and fries or a warm paratha for lunch. I would snack on potato crisps or iced soda, and that to me was the perfect mid-lunch snack. I didn’t quite fancy spending all my time during lunch-break in school eating with friends, because it was also the only real option to catch up with friends.

During school hours, it was optimal to pay attention in class because as a student you are expected to learn both in class and in your own time. After coming home, I would heat-up my lunch and plop myself on the couch to watch television but the only shows that would air at the time, worthwhile catching, were the afternoon talk shows. The talk shows would air in the evening too, which would mean they were quite interestingly inescapable during food-time. Growing up, food-time began to mean The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. It meant Star World, the Hallmark Channel and CNN. I was too busy being a couch potato to know what my friends would be upto right after school was over so it was just me and my pet dogs, a good warm lunch and talk shows.

I have to admit school never permitted to be a regular viewer of both the shows because living in a city as a child meant traffic jams are unavoidable. Sometimes it would be so late hours that I would get home from school that a warm lunch and news segments on the BBC would be the only thing worth watching on television that would greet me. Naturally, it was never really as interesting but during lunchtime I don’t think the kind of television I like to crave is serious pieces of journalism.

There is a very good reason why Oprah was interesting to watch during lunchtime: Oprah would participate in gift-giving to her audience and it would bring such joy to all of the people who would tune into her show live and on-set, there were a varied range of guests, from book authors I normally never hear off despite being an avid reader of books from my childhood, to rare interviews of celebrities, and one of Oprah’s biggest past times on her television show was fretting about her waistline.

Growing up with talk shows does not mean I could reserve a lot of time to catch every single celebrity interview the chat show hosts would do because naturally I had homework to think about, and practicing my writing skills, as well as cultivate my hobbies, which I was quite crazy fond of doing. But there were pieces I did catch on The Oprah Winfrey Show, like Tom Cruise’s loud proclamation of love for Katie Holmes. Holmes had harbored a crush on Cruise, during her starry-eyed days in Dawson’s Creek, and long before she ever got the chance to meet him.

So the relationship had circulated a lot of drama and the episode, upon first sight, looked like it would be a treat wrapped up with ribbons and everything, for audiences around the world tuning into The Oprah Winfrey Show. I found the episode rather boring in places and given the mad publicity hoopla that was going on at the time surrounding the two’s whirlwind romance, that was disappointing, to say the least. But that’s what chat shows are on most days: absolute hogwash but it’s all that’s worth your time really during food-time because no one wants to watch One Piece, absolutely all the time and every single day.

Thanksgiving Talking Points

Donald Trump, a Mexican straw hat and great gossip

During Thanksgiving, what are the conversation points that would be welcoming? I figured the regulars are always a nice addition to great company and a delicious meal. It’s a really fabulous idea to catch up with friends over glasses of Chardonnay and roast meat. It’s quite tough to point at other times of the year when any excuse would be good to do so without the extra headache of deadlines and daily grocery shopping bugging you.

As much as you would love to chat about your friends’ ugly hookups and how rubbish last night’s house party was, the humdrum of daily existence beckons you to get busy because everyday isn’t meant to be extraordinarily fun-times-with-mates. I love to socialise, so juicy pieces of gossip is a very welcoming thought, for a start. How many of your friends are moving towns? How has dating life been like? What was the most exciting event to happen to them in the past year? What has work been like? How’s school/uni and how heavy has the workload been because I haven’t slept in ages? How many are having babies and what’s that like actually because I am not really a baby-person? Hey, it most definitely is alright to be curious about your friend’s life even if it is so different from the kind you love to lead…I think that’s what makes the conversation so interesting if you really do love to socialise.

The second good point to talk about I feel would be the Thanksgiving meal you all have just had: you can ask them which part of the meal they enjoyed the most, if they felt anything was missing from it that could be included next year – this isn’t an invitation to mess with a traditional Thanksgiving meal but sometimes keeping that tradition, with it you can cook up pumpkin pie (very autumnal!) or a strawberry-laced dessert, to serve to your guests. Therefore, inputs from your friends would be a grand thing really because your juggling recipes for a party, you’re giving it your best shot, and you most definitely cannot read minds so the more your friends tell you about their favourite part of the meal, the less stressful it gets to happily entertain in the future. Apart from that talking culture is great, with politics: right now all I can think about is Trump’s victory at the US elections and how disappointing that is for the United States because his Republican manifesto just wasn’t personally appealing. It is all I can think about. That and the sombrero.