University students need this kind of cooking then energy saving comes as a bonus
Posted on March 17th, 2014

Dr Hector Perera       London

As a University student in England, I had plenty of problems when I had to live, study and cook in a single room. With a very limited budget I could not afford to buy takeaway food for daily consumption, except for an occasional treat. The University canteen food was very reasonable but I just had my lunch there and the supper at my one room accommodation.  As a Sri Lankan, I was used to eat rice and curries so I wanted eat that type of food even when I came over to England but couldn’t afford to pay restaurant charges for that kind of food as they were very expensive. Even when I was doing my Advanced Level studies in Colombo with four of my good friends, we used to get together to prepare simple meals so we could enjoy homemade style of food. The good news is they got selected for medicine but I wasn’t selected. I got into teaching chemistry and physics practicals for Advanced level classes in a private college. Even when my friends left to medical college, I stayed there and I managed to prepare some meals only occasionally unlike when we were together. When I looked back, we never thought about any methods to avoid any food smells depositing on us while cooking and also never thought about energy saving of kerosene used for cooking. That time three or four gallons of kerosene were home delivered by a man who comes once a week in a bullock cart. The price per gallon of kerosene was around one rupee or even slightly less so who wants to save more money on kerosene?  We got together early morning, shared the work and cooked. Then had a good shower before we went out so any food smell on us was not a problem as well. We knew those food smells deposit on us while cooking but never thought of any scientific method to avoid these microscopic smelly molecules even though we knew chemistry. We just cooked the traditional way by opening to stir and taste salt when the curries boil, checked the level of water in rice with a long POLKATU HANDA.

Everyone needs to eat something either homemade or takeaways. I tried takeaways but they are not really appealing to eat on regular basis. When I had to attend Colombo schools for my higher studies then I had to stay in a room only basis boarding house. I didn’t like going up and down to hotels or to takeaway places for every meal so I tried to bring parcels of rice and curries for lunch and supper. There was nothing wrong to bring something and eat at where you stayed but it was not easy to cycle or walk sometimes in the rain and in the night. Since my friends left the boarding place, I sometimes had the meals at those little hotels in Borella but honestly it wasn’t easy all the time. The waiter comes and cleaned the table with a dirty wet cloth and serves rice and curries quite politely. Honestly I enjoyed the meals and didn’t want to think any unhealthy and hygienic side of eating out. My simple cooking method is a help for those students including University students who need to cook something easily or who had no experience to prepare any meals.  I couldn’t depend on just bread, butter, jam and bananas for every meal then only I thought to try and cook again something simple since the friends left the boarding house. This is the point unless you think that you want something done or you want a solution to a problem, you are not tempted to find a solution. That is why once again I tried to cook something simple at the boarding house then gradually I improved the method of cooking. That means my cooking ideas are not spring chickens.

When I moved to England to continue my studies, first I lived with my friend but he was living far away from my University then I found a nearer place. Once again I was back to the square one that means had to cook or depend on takeaways. A little bit of experience of cooking helped me to cook my meals than depending on fried foods from takeaways. I am sure everyone is aware how unhealthy are the takeaways for many reasons. If you think about those takeaway foods, actually they are full of fats and oils then showered with salt and sauces. Try some freshly fried fish and chips or chicken and chips, yes they are tasty but are they quite healthy to eat on regular basis? When I cooked those chicken and vegetable curries in the room, honestly I had plenty of problems, mainly the food smell getting on the clothes. Back home even though I wasn’t cooking in the room but there was an area away from the room to cook the meals so food smell on clothes was not quite a problem. Now I had this problem of food smell on clothes then only gradually I discovered my scientific way of cooking. I am sure if the University students also learned my scientific energy saving cooking technique, certainly it would help in many ways.

I assume the University accommodations in Sri Lanka also had facilities for the students to cook but never had the chance to find out those details. In England in every single student accommodations have a shared kitchen with all the modern facilities, a fridge freezer, microwave oven, four or six burner gas or an electric cooker, toaster, hot and cold water then a dish washer and many more facilities. What did I had back home, a place away from the room to cook but no appliances supplied? In England I had a room then a shared kitchen but only later I started to cook in that kitchen. No one used the kitchen, it was just virtually an abandoned room used for storage only, with no facilities as such found in the University student accommodations. There were few others as well but none of them were students, I hardly knew them since quite often new people arrived quite often. Much later, I came to use that abandoned kitchen and until that time I used to cook in the room itself. Luckily the University students have a separate shared and modern kitchen facilities. With all that facilities, unfortunately most students just warmed readymade foods such as pizzas, pies or grilled some sausages, burgers or fried something. Even some Asian students ate the same kind of food than eating rice and curries due to lack of cooking knowledge or they didn’t want to be different from other British students, how did I know because I have some close relatives studying in two leading Universities. The students had to share the kitchen including the fridge and usually it is filled with those kind of easy to cook items. Sometimes some foods are a few weeks out of date and still sitting or rotting there as those students sometimes forgotten to get rid of those items.

There are ready made foods made rice and curries or similar foods that again required just oven warming for few minutes. I wonder how many days or weeks ago they have been cooked and left like that in supermarket freezers and some are just sitting on the shelves.  Did the students knew cooked rice had some kind of dangerous bacteria that easily flourished when left for even for few hours? So why not cook rice then and there than eating stale rice, perhaps they have no idea how to cook rice. I assume many Sri Lankan ladies burn the rice or make “Dankuda” if cooked on gas or electric cookers, except when cooked using rice cookers. That may be the reason why so people eat these kinds of spoiled rice in restaurants. Would you think they serve freshly cooked or made fried rice? I leave it for your own decision. I am so surprised how did our poor servants got the rice cooked perfectly on firewood stoves?

Bacillus cereus is the cause of “Fried rice Syndrome,” as the bacteria is classically contracted from fried rice dishes that have been sitting at room temperature for hours such as at a buffet. Bacillus cereus is responsible for a minority of foodborne illnesses (2”5%), causing severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Bacillus foodborne illnesses occur due to survival of the bacterial endospores when food is improperly cooked. Cooking temperatures less than or equal to 100 °C (212 °F) allows some B. cereus spores to survive. This is one the reasons rice to be cooked slightly elevated temperature. This problem is compounded when food is improperly refrigerated, allowing the endospores to germinate. Cooked foods not meant for either immediate consumption or rapid cooling and refrigeration should be kept at temperatures above 60 °C (140 °F). Germination and growth generally occurs between 10 and 50 °C (50 and 122 °F), though some strains are psychotropic. Psychrotrophic bacteria are bacteria that are capable of surviving or even thriving in a cold environment. They are responsible for spoiling refrigerated foods. Bacterial growth results in production of enterotoxins, one of which is highly resistant to heat and to acidity levels or pH levels between 2 and 11; ingestion leads to two types of illness, diarrheal and emetic (vomiting) syndrome.

My scientific energy saving cooking technique maintains a uniform temperature or an equilibrium temperature while cooking. This is one reason why I do not open the cooking rice or curries during the process. There is no reason to open the pot to lose heat or chemicals while cooking. Perhaps some Sri Lankan ladies who are used for traditional cooking wouldn’t like my kind of cooking because there is no opportunity or less chances to shower with secret beauty therapy cooking aroma. Once my technique is practically seen, the University students would welcome this technique due to number of reasons. The method saves waiting time in the kitchen, cuts down cooking smells depositing on them then as additional bonus saves energy and saves the atmospheric pollution. I assume cooking rice, pasta, spaghetti, curries such as meat, fish and vegetables would save around 60% wasting gas. Why waste the cooking gas when they can be saved? Too good to believe? So why not those energy experts come forward either to approve or disprove this scientific energy saving cooking? I am using two centuries old well established scientific laws so if I am wrong why those scientific laws are still accepted by leading Universities such as Oxford in England and Harvard in New York? If I was disproved, there is a substantial cash reward. By the way what would I get in return if I was right? Would those energy experts and authorities accept my technique and issue an official recognition? Any comments are welcomed. Please email [email protected]

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