Food for thought
Anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking, and intellectual
nourishment, is 'food for thought'. For instance, if I say: "when one
person is unkind to an animal, it is considered to be cruelty; but where
a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of
commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at
stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people".
This then is something to think about and ponder over, and thus it
becomes 'food for thought'.
However, it is not my intention today to provide my readers with
mental stimulus or intellectual nourishment.
I find that not many Sri Lankans are interested in that aspect of
their life. What with their daily chores, and the rat race they are
involved in; intellectual needs, to say the least, are set aside on to
the back burn.
Hence, instead, I wish to devote thought to that: sustainer of life;
the source and essence of existence; the provider of nourishment - more
simply and otherwise called: food. This week, therefore, let us give
thought to food; thought about food.
It is amazing how pervasive food is. Every second commercial is for
food. Every second TV episode takes place around a meal. In the city,
you can't go ten feet without seeing or smelling a restaurant; or being
alive to the fact that there are twenty feet high hamburgers up on
I am acutely aware of food, and its omnipresence is astounding.
In Sri Lanka, not many know that the right to food is a human right
derived from the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and
This covenant recognises the right of the people to an adequate
standard of living, including adequate food, as well as the "fundamental
right to be free from hunger". Yet, despite this, starvation is a
significant international problem. Approximately 815 million people are
undernourished, and over 16,000 children die per day from hunger-related
A World Bank policy research working paper, about increase in food
prices, published in July 2008 found that "the increase in the price of
food commodities was led by grains - the basic diet of the majority of
humanity - with sharp price increases in 2005 despite record crops
worldwide. From January 2005 until June 2008, maize prices almost
tripled, wheat increased 127 percent, and rice rose 170 percent".
In an essay titled 'The New Geopolitics of Food', Lester R. Brown,
president of the Earth Policy Institute, and author of World on the
Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, says: "Welcome
to the new food economics of 2012: Prices are climbing, but the impact
is not at all being felt equally. For Americans, who spend less than
one-tenth of their income in the supermarket, the soaring food prices we
have seen so far this year are an annoyance, not a calamity.
But, for the planet's poorest two billion people who spend 50 to 70
percent of their income on food, these soaring prices may mean going
from two meals a day to one.
Those who are barely hanging on to the lower rungs of the global
economic ladder risk losing their grip entirely. They can contribute -
and it has - to revolutions and upheaval".
People have a special relationship with food. Food is considered to
be, and is seen as, an agent that brings people together. Food is
something we interact with on a daily basis - frequently, in fact. There
are many very obscure facts about food that are fascinating and
definitely worth knowing. Some food facts are interesting; some are
surprising, while some are just plain shocking. Here is a nice trivia
list about food.
The largest food item on a menu is roast camel. The camel is stuffed
with a sheep's carcass, which is stuffed with chickens, which are
stuffed with fish, which are stuffed with eggs. This feast is mostly
served at Bedouin weddings.
The most expensive coffee in the world comes from Civet Droppings.
Civet is a cat like mammal. The animals gorge on only the finest ripe
coffee berries, and excrete the partially digested beans. This is
gathered, processed, and sold. Known as Kopi Luwak, it is produced
mainly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi in the
Indonesian Archipelago and also in the Philippines.
It is sold in Japan and the US for between $120 and $600 USD per 500
grams, though increasingly is available elsewhere. My question: who in
hell discovered that it tastes good?
The earliest indication of our ancestors having soup dates back to
about 6000 BC.
The evidence suggests that the main ingredient was Hippopotamus meat.
Another noted incident involving a hippo soup is as follows: Sir Samuel
Baker and his wife, Lady Florence, were making their way through
Baker is remembered as an explorer and for his exploits as a big game
hunter - he was responsible for killing the largest number of our
elephants; and, to this day, we honour him by naming a waterfall in the
Horton Plains as Baker's Fall. Along the way, they heard many stories
involving an animal favoured by the locals, both for its meat and fat,
which happened to be a hippopotamus.
The intrepid cook that he was, Sir Baker concocted a soup of hippo
head and spices, which he and his crew found to be quite good. As an old
Spanish proverb goes, "Of soup and love, the first is the best."
Peanuts: Dynamite is made with Peanuts. Though it sounds completely
incredulous, peanuts are a component of dynamite. There are also other
types of dynamites that are made without peanuts. Dynamite is made from
Nitroglycerine, also known as Trinitroglycerine, and Glyceryl
Trinitrate, an oily, explosive liquid made by nitrating Glycerol.
Glycerol or glycerin is a viscous liquid used in soaps, creams, and
food. Glycerol is made of peanut oil, thus, attributing the component of
dynamites to peanuts.
The French royalty used to feed raw potatoes to pigs before beginning
to consume it themselves.
This was so because the royalty considered potatoes an unclean food.
It was by chance that the French royalty discovered how tasty it was.
The head cook of the French royalty had accidently burnt the
potatoes, along with other vegetables, and had to serve the same to the
King and the Queen.
The cook was so sure that his head would be on the chopping block,
because of this disaster, that he had almost quit. However, the royal
folks were so impressed with his disastrous, yet, delectable dish, that
they rewarded him handsomely.
In 1905, in San Francisco, Frank Epperson was only 11 years old when
he invented the Popsicle, originally named Epsicle. He had accidentally
left his fruit flavoured soda outside on the porch with a stir stick in
it. The drink froze to the stick and tasted good. It took 18 more years
for Epperson to apply for a patent for a "frozen ice on a stick" called
the Epsicle ice pop, which his children re-named the Popsicle.
Tender coconut water
Tender coconut water, in emergencies, is a substitute for blood
plasma. Coconut water is used for a variety of medical purposes, one of
which is intravenous rehydration. By intra venous administering coconut
water, when no other fluids were available, it is possible to rehydrate
Tender coconut water cannot actually replace blood plasma as chemical
analysis indicates that it is closer in makeup to intracellular fluid.
Tender coconut water is usually sterile and, when mixed with plasma, it
behaves like saline solution. Be happy whenever you eat. It helps the
body to absorb the best from the food.
See you this day next week. Until then, keep thinking; keep laughing.
Life is mostly about these two activities.
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