How would the University students manage to cook without any basic cooking experience?
Posted on June 23rd, 2013

Dr Hector Perera      London

When the children are growing up with the parents they insist their children on education more than anything else because they are the future. It is a duty of the parents to do everything to their children and too much to mention what they are. When some children grow up, they have the chance to attend for further studies in Universities either in that country or in foreign countries. When they attend the Universities for higher studies, certainly most of them have to live away from the home and the parents. Then they have to do everything on their own that means to organise their lives, including preparing their own meals. I can tell you this kind of things due to my own personal experience by living in Colombo then when I came to England. When I was doing my SSC to advanced level in Colombo, I travelled from Gampaha home to Colombo on daily basis but that was very difficult on the long run. Then came to live in a boarding house with a few more students, both boys and girls. There was no problem with meals, all done by the servants so I never worried at all.

Didn’t like takeaways still didn’t know cooking

Then came to another boarding house on the room only basis then the problems started about the meals. I tried various ways, getting meals from near by houses or bringing in some takeaways. For some reason or the other, I didn’t like it very much. Then I started to cook something with the help of a final year medical student since we had some space in the back of the house as cooking facilities. We used a single burner kerosene cooker not a LPG cooker. None of us knew how to cook anything but some or how we found out the way to cook something. I am certain that I asked my mum then watched her cooking back at home. At home we had nothing but firewood stoves and often a servant also cooked but when time permits the mum also cooked. Those days I never knew any application of science to cooking or energy saving in cooking, just cooked. Like any other person, just added this and that and cooked then opened the boiling curries to stir then taste for salt or to add more ingredients. I am sure those curry smells or even chicken cologne must have got on to my clothes as well as to the face and hands. Those days, I never noticed them at all.

A room to study sleep and cook

Then I had live in a single room while attending a University in England. I was really worried about something to eat in our way that is some rice and curries. I knew how to cook rice and curries but still not for sure. May be I experimented because in chemistry as well we do some chemistry experiments. There were enough other things to eat such as fried fish and chips or chicken and chips, sausages, burgers, kebabs or other types of takeaways but from the start, I didn’t like them at all. I couldn’t eat all the time bread, butter, jam, cheese, bananas and apples. The supermarkets were full of ready made meals but actually I didn’t like them to eat on regular basis.

Due to habit or second nature

 Money was very difficult, too little in hand but too many other things to spend including the University fees. Takeaways are expensive to eat all the time but sometimes I used to eat them because no choice. All the time, I used a small electric cooker to cook things such as rice and curries at the boarding house. Then I had to be watchful not to over flow the pot of rice otherwise it would fall on the hot plate so I always cooked at low fire. The chicken curries or even vegetable curries were opened and stirred or tasted for salt and other ingredients due to habit or second nature. I never realised that these volatile chemicals from different ingredients could come and deposit on any cold surface. When I said the cold surfaces that means when we get nearer a boiling chicken curry and stir, then the hands, face, the clothes and the head are colder than the vapours so by laws of science these chemical vapours tend to deposit on these exposed colder surfaces. Not only they deposit on me while cooking, they deposit on anywhere such as on the curtains in the room, the windows, the TV then on anything around. These are microscopic films of sticky oily dirt too difficult to detect at first place. Honestly I never knew these were problems and never knew how to tackle them either. Actually slowly these valuables gradually get ruined. I am not alone, even right now in anybody else’s homes as well these microscopic dirt gradually gather in and around your valuables in your kitchen, sitting room then in your bedrooms when they cook carelessly. It does not happen over night but on the long run.

Made them aware of wasting gas

After the recent cooking demonstration at the block of high rise flats in South of Colombo, some people came to me and thanked for making them aware of some simple problems in cooking. I am sure most of the ladies who came there were expert cooks with lots of experience for a number of years. My main aim was to make them aware of wasting gas in careless cooking. As everyone knows, wasting gas means wasting hard earned money then polluting the air we breathe. Who would like to burn Rs 5000 or Rs 1000 notes and pollute the air, absolutely no one but actually the people who cook carelessly buy gas for money then burn gas carelessly? In a way they are burning money indirectly, am I correct? My main aim was to show the crowd how to use gas more efficiently in cooking which can be done only by following some simple rules of science.

 This is not a spring chicken idea

 I learned them in a hard way by making so many mistakes in Sri Lanka as well in England for a number of years then came up with these scientific energy saving cooking ideas. Not only I practically use the technique at home then thought to let the general public be aware of the wastage of gas by explaining in simple language than using scientific terms. In case any scientists or energy saving experts come forward and requested the scientific explanations then I would come out with proper scientific explanations. I knew no point of a chat interview at a TV station without a proper cooking demonstration then it would have been a really boring session. The interviewer wouldn’t have any ideas to question me on scientific findings on energy saving and time saving cooking. I am sure I attempted to make the explanations as simple as possible when I did both demonstrations, one to the ITN TV then to the crowd of people in South of Colombo.

What is thermodynamic equilibrium condition?

 Of course I mentioned some scientific terms during the demonstration but I stopped and explained with respect to the actual situations. When the rice and chicken curry came to show first signs of steam escaping steadily under the lid then I stopped and explained that condition, I called it attempting thermodynamic equilibrium condition. From that moment, I adjusted the flame not to exceed thermodynamic equilibrium condition. When it was properly adjusted to my kind of energy saving, the actual flame was about 30% from the initial flame. I showed the crowd clearly then they widely accepted it was cooking under thermodynamic equilibrium condition. At the start they never knew the meaning of those terms but when I showed with examples certainly they knew the meaning of those terms. Have I not educated them a little bit about the correct use of gas and energy efficiency? I wish if there was at least one official from the energy authority or any scientist to witness this energy saving cooking.

A dad and daughter

The Chairman, Mr Bandara then his teenage daughter as well cooked rice and curries as I explained while the whole crowd was watching. I didn’t have any tricks in this kind of work but pointed out what they have to do in order to use gas efficiently then to cook a simple meal in a given time by saving gas and time so that they can avoid eating any takeaways. In this way no CHICKEN COLOGNE OR CURRY COLOGNE to wear on them because that was a scientific way of cooking. Further if anyone expected, “ƒ”¹…”DANKUDA’ they too were disappointed. I assume, this is a very useful demonstration for the future and present University students as well. I have pointed out this in my previous article as well and I am sure some energy saving experts as well as some scientists must have read those articles. In some of my previous articles, I made it very clear that if those energy saving experts or any scientists could prove me wrong then that increased challenged money would be awarded.

Expect an approval or a disproval

Would you like to waste your hard earned money on burning gas carelessly? If the answer is no then either they must find out my kind of simple scientific energy saving cooking or the scientists or the energy saving experts must take necessary steps to investigate my claim properly, if I am right or wrong. Suppose if I was wrong then I will pay Rs Six millions to the authorities for wasting their time but if I was right what would I get? I wonder do I get at least any official recognition! I have the DVDs as evidences then it is up to the respective authorities to approve or disprove my technique. I have done my part in scientific energy saving cooking demonstrations not just once but twice in May 2013. Who said, “ƒ”¹…”More Sir’? Any comments please email to [email protected]

One Response to “How would the University students manage to cook without any basic cooking experience?”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    When I was in St Peters college we had a class how to grow vegetables. That education is still with me as I now grow many of my own vegetables. When I came to the US there was a class that taught the students the basics of cooking. Such classes are essential to any school and would also impart into the culture a sense of self sufficiency for when those students become parents they will then teach their children these basic skills.

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