How would my scientific energy saving cooking help the University students?
Posted on July 15th, 2014

Dr Hector Perera     London

Some children complete their secondary school studies then enter into Universities. I am sure that is one of the wishes of the parents. When my SSC results came that was good enough to apply to the law college and fortunately I got selected but my dad said that kind profession was not suitable to me so I gave up attending the law college.

I had no problems when I travelled for studies from home but my mum found a boarding house for convenience. Later on I moved out of that place found by mum to a single room only basis then only the problem of meals started. When I went home to my mum’s house in Gampaha, I get food for my friends as well but that was just for one meal.

In the boarding house there were two others also attended to the same private college to do advancedlevel science. To begin with we tried so many options, getting parcels and packets of lunch and dinner from nearby hotels.

Sometimes I cycled day and night, rain or shine to hotels in Borella to buy lunch packets from nearby hotels. Honestly when it was opened to eat, the appearance didn’t appeal to eat, it looks like all mixed up, lost the appetite. Then for some time we used to get our meals from neighbouring houses. That was not bad at all, nicely laid out on plates but we decided to try and cook something in the boarding house. There was no kitchen as such but a part of the wide passage was enough for the purpose.

Trial and error learning

There is nothing like experimenting so we started to cook something by adding this and that then only realised it’s too hot or mild or bland. Then by trial and error found the way to cook something edible. We never thought of the cooking smell given out while cooking because we thought that was quite normal. Like our servants at home, I also opened the boiling curries and stirred and tasted for salt, not just once but several times. In the meantime I got showered with curry smell but I never understood it as a problem because I never knew any better. We shared the work and cooked our meals early morning before we went to college. When we came back after college, there was enough to eat or eat as much as we like unlike in hotels. Before we went to college we had a good shower so there was no problem of curry smell on us or on the clothes.

Exams are not team work

When my friends got selected to do medicine they left the boarding house. I didn’t pass all my Advanced level subjects so I didn’t get selected do medicine or even to any other University course. As a group we studied together at the boarding house but sometimes I didn’t joined them. I still remember one of them told me, he studied until 1.00 am or even late. Two of my friends were so close, both studied very hard and both got selected to do medicine. They were so close, one of them got married to one of the friend’s sisters.

My ideas are not spring chickens

After a while I moved to England to do my further studies then only I had the problem of cooking in a room where I have to do all my work. To my surprise there was this abandoned kitchen used as a storage so later on I started to cook there than cooking in the room. I had no problem of cooking because I knew how to cook but not avoiding smell or energy saving basis. Then gradually I found the way to cook by cutting down the smell and energy used for cooking so my ideas are not spring chickens.

Now I want to help

Once I found the method to cut down food smell depositing me when cooking then I thought about the wastage of energy. As a student, I must say money was too tight so I really wanted to spend less money on energy. As a University student, I had these problem of cooking food that is why now I want to help the present and future University students. Unless you wanted something done, you will not find out how to get over that problem.

Only when I had to study as a University student, I had to do all my normal things such as studying, cooking and sleeping in a single room then only realised the problem of cooking smell. Of course if one is rich enough, there were plenty of places to buy or rent but as a student, I just had to manage very difficult. Occasionally I also had takeaways but the oily and salty nature of the food didn’t appeal me very much.

As a Sri Lanka student

The lunch had to be taken at the University canteen like everybody else but I prepared something homely for the supper. Back home in Sri Lanka we ate nothing but rice and curries, not pies, baked beans, burgers, sausages and all the other things that normally eaten by other students in the University. The problem was the curry smell deposited on my clothes when I cooked something inside the room or even in the kitchen. Actually I was rather embarrassed to wear them to go outside because of the food smell, so I tried a cover up with such as with an after shave but the truth was it still smells.

Earlier nobody believed me but now different

Even when I found the way to cut down smell and save energy, the others didn’t want to know because that time it was not accepted by any authority but not now. I explained the scientific energy saving cooking to The Sustainable Energy Authority in Sri Lanka with respect to an actual cooking demonstration but not by just words only. Just by talking only one cannot properly understand the technique, scientific terms and conditions. It has to be explained with reference to a cooking demonstration not just words.

The day after I demonstrated this energy saving cooking to The Sustainable Energy Authority, I had the rare opportunity to a live demonstration to a leading TV in Sri Lanka called SIRASA. Those who didn’t view the demonstration at that time, it can be seen even now on the internet.

Kussi Amma is a clever cook but

Somebody wrote to me recently and said, even Kussi amma can cook”. I must say back home our servants and Kussi amma cooked tasty dishes even they can barely read and write. I admit that anybody can cook but they have no knowledge of the science of cooking.

If the University students are unaware of cooking something simple, there are many options. Now the supermarkets are full of readymade meals, cans, tins and packets of food then there are takeaways. If those meals are healthy and affordable then they may eat but it is up to them to decide.

Takeaway and readymade food

The experts, nutritionists and doctors always say the takeaways and ready made meals are not always heathy to eat on regular basis. They say eating them occasionally on moderation is acceptable but not on regular basis. Those foods are added with too many additives, chemicals such as Ajina motto”, sources, colourings and excess preservatives because they have to store them in large quantities for a considerable time. Some foods must have cooked a few weeks ago and left in the fridge or freezers for some time, some are out dated but who knows some crafty shop owners fiddle with the sell by date for their profits. Have they been properly preserved until you buy them? How many times power failure occurred then they refreeze them, long distance transportation, temporary storage without proper freezing conditions, are they really hygienic?

The University students just buy them

The innocent University students, have no option, just buy that stuff or take them and store them to use them later on. I have witnessed in some University student’s accommodations kitchens, the freezers are chocker blocked with too many of those foods. In those conditions would they get properly preserved until they use them? In most cases at least five students share the kitchen utensils including the fridge freezer.

Fried rice diarrhoea”

I am not expecting these students to be chefs or cooks but just trying to show that cooking is not as hard as they expected. I have already demonstrated how to cook without any trouble. Rice cooked freshly is much better than warmed up rice in packets of food. I am sure you heard that rice has a bacteria called Bacillus cereus that grows rapidly if the cooked rice is not properly refrigerated. The fried rice made out of stale rice might cause, Fried rice diarrhoea”.

Other things such as pasta, spaghetti, potatoes and vegetable are easy to cook using my method. Who said cooking chicken curries and other meat curries are difficult? Totally uneducated Kussi amma” and other servants also can cook so why not these University students? Recipes are on the internet, daily papers and on magazines, just follow the method, ingredients and the quantities. You will soon realise just a tea spoon or half a tea spoon of those curry powder and chilies are added along with normal other ingredients. You will soon realise what is too much or too little by trial and error or by experimenting. All you got to do is to make an effort to cook something simple than thinking it’s too hard.

Who needs to cook Kussi amma” style?

Freshly cooked food are hygienic, economical and you know exactly what you cook. How would one trust the prepared foods for sale? Once you learn the basic cooking then you would soon understand how to cook avoiding smell depositing on you. Once again only if you wanted to know how to avoid the food smell depositing on you then need to find out how to save energy then try and cook scientifically, not like Kussi amma style”.

Rice, pasta and spaghetti are eaten by anybody

Actually my scientific energy saving cooking can be done by anybody, not just by University students. I know the problems as a University student and now I got over it that is why I wanted to help them. These students always eat nothing but takeaway food because they are totally unaware of making something simple at their accommodations. The basic things such as pasta, spaghetti and rice are eaten by anybody so they must know how to cook them first before knowing how to cook chicken curries or vegetable curries.

Ingredients are healthy

I assume most Asian students prefer to eat rice as the basic food than eating pasta, spaghetti, pies, chips, pizza, sausages or burghers. Once you got rice cooked then you may eat that even with canned fish, roast chicken, beef, lamb, pork or beef. I will come back later to let them know how to cook those so called curries and how to avoid the smell depositing on them while cooking. The ingredients that are added to curries have plenty of natural medicinal, antifungal and antibiotic values in addition to giving them flavour to food. Now who would prefer bland food or with a dash of healthy and natural ingredients? Any comments please

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