You might have all forms of energy, other than gas but if not carefully used, back to the square one.
Posted on October 16th, 2011

Dr Hector PereraƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ England

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ No rice cookers, no rice.

I can remember sometime back there were both kerosene cookers and firewood stoves for cooking. Now kerosene cookers have gradually disappeared. I am not sure of the electric cookers in that many years ago, sure they must have been there but we never had one. The dangers of having electric cookers were, if water falls on them while cooking, for example in cooking rice, it might be dangerous unlike in any other kinds of fires. There is nothing like having rice cooked on firewood stoves, when rice boils, froth falling over, dribbling all over, itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s a nice thing to see. Then they open the lid on the rice pot, leave it to come down then carry on. I am not sure how they get it right, may be by chance to cook rice without burning or we call it forming ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-DankudaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. Now anybody can cook rice because of these rice cookers, just leave it to cook. That is just a tiny change happened inSri Lanka. Now they cannot cook rice without rice cookers, how wonderful! Now more and more villagers as well get electricity and the ways of lives as well changed, no more kerosene chimney lamps and the humble kitchen kerosene lamps stood patiently by the firewood stoves.

These Sri Lankans are quite fortunate to have firewood to be found for free in their own gardens from coconut trees, cashew, cinnamon plants; some people might buy some rubber tree firewood. From coconut trees they get plenty of different kind of materials to burn, coconut husks, shells, leaves, sheaths covering the coconut flower also known as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-hanasuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and many more. Those days even we hardly spent any money on firewood as they were found for free in our own garden and we also used to cook all the time with firewood. The so called kerosene cooker was for just making a quick cup of tea or coffee or to boil an egg but not for real cooking.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Home cooking

I loved the smell of burning firewood; it gives a feeling of home cooking when it gets mixed with pleasant smell of cooking curries. When our servants or my mum cooked these things, honestly it made a different thing, I am sure anybody else who had these so called traditional firewood stoves would admit. The smell of frying sprats, prawns or cutlets made a pleasant smell and spreads all over, from the kitchen to living room and to bedrooms. Those days, I never thought about applying chemistry for cooking, just went to school, come back and ate home made meals. What about takeaways, never heard those things.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Some school cooking helped me.

When I had to go for a college inColombo, one time, three of my friends and myself tried a bit of cooking because we thought it would be economical and cleaner. The boarding house provided just rooms and no food, so first we ate from nearby hotels. When we got the food packets to the boarding house, it looks like all mixed up so we thought why not try some home cooking. I suggested and they agreed to my proposal.

The only thing was no firewood but had to use kerosene cookers. Those days kerosene oil was home delivered by a bullock cart, a gallon for little more than one rupee. I never knew good cooking, just tried by trial and error to cook just a few things. I knew some cooking because I did scouting atKandyDharmarajaCollege. It really helped us in many ways, less expensive, healthy and cooked only in the morning for the lunch and supper.

My friends went to do medicine, I didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t go that far, went for teaching. It was much later; I came over toEnglandfor studies. Then only I realised a little bit of cooking knowledge was quite helpful over inEngland. Most of the time in back home, you just go for the dinning table and itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s no the table, all done for you. In way, how lucky to get someone to prepare your meals. Over inEngland, we had a choice, make your own or have takeaway. If anyone thought, learning some cooking is an insult, think again.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Mr Nick Clegg

Over the period of time, I worked out how to cut down the wastage of energy, gas and electricity used for cooking. My energy saving ideas are not spring chickens, it had been there for years. Even from those days, I thought gas and electricity were quite expensive but now itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s absolutely expensive. Since August 2011, gas prices inEnglandhave gone up by 18% and electricity is still going up. Just this week, even the Deputy Prime Minister inEngland, Rt Hon Mr Nick Clegg worriedly mentioned about the cost of energy prices for the general public. I am wondering how these people would manage to use gas and electricity for cooking! Can I assume that some of these people resort to takeaway because of the cost of gas and electricity? Would you think itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s a solution?

Supermarkets are plenty in any small town, they are in competitive with each other or they have a price war to attract more customers. They offer certain food and drinks at cut prices then at the same time, the customers tempt to buy far too many food items, packed food, ready made food, ready to eat hot food, so why would they worry about home cooking? May be they eat takeaways, watch far too many television channels or spend lots of time in drinking beer or other sprits in public houses so they do not worry about the rise in energy bills.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Why some children are obese?

I have noticed some children inEngland; eat fish and chips or chicken and chips from takeaway shops carrying a known brand. When they get home, just drink the fizzy drinks, 1.5 litre bottles given with takeaway, sit down and play electronic games or watch television, no home cooking at all. May be they warm up a pizza or any ready made food already in the fridge or freezer. It takes just a few minutes in a micro wave or in an oven that is all. No real home cooked food.

When the kids grow up in this culture of eating habits, would you think itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s quite healthy? No wonder the NHS [National Health Service] is worried about obesity in children and in some adults because these takeaways are absolutely unhealthy for regular consumption, especially in large portions. Even I eat takeaways occasionally.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ NHS keeps telling the general public to have five a day of fruits and vegetables to be healthy but most of the time, they rot in the shells but meat products such as bacon, beef, pork and chicken disappear faster and faster. I know some quite sensible adults shop for healthy food such as fruits and vegetables and some meat products, to have a balanced diet. I am sure they also feel the pinch of energy bills. If the prices of energy bills are not lowered in way by cutting down the prices or finding some techniques to reduce the energy rise, I am afraid some of these people also might resort to the easy way, takeaway food.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Cooked prawns with faeces

Would you think some of these cooking programmes in the British television would help the children to learn home cooking? These chefs sometimes rush things and add this and that without any explanations. This Saturday, I watched a cooking programme where a famous chef cooked a nice dish of prawns. Only thing is, the prawns were not cleaned. Did he knew, prawns faeces are just under the shell covering the head? InSri Lankaeven tiny sprats are cleaned before cooking, am I correct? Certainly cleaned prawns dish would taste better than cooked with faeces.

Sometimes, I think whether they have any scientific knowledge of food, any ideas to save energy. Actually these must be explained by someone with some chemical knowledge or with some scientific knowledge. Who would argue that food is nothing but chemicals? To me cooking is a chemical reaction. When a few ingredients reacted together with vegetables, fish or meat, I am not certain the resulting chemical structure unless chemically analysed.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Who is prepared to listen to me?

We certainly need some ideas to save energy or resort to any other forms of energy such as solar, geothermal, wind power, wave power or worse come to worse nuclear energy. You may have all these types of energy but if there are no scientific ideas to save energy then back to the square one, if the energy is carelessly or ignorantly wasted. It pollutes the atmosphere and waste money as well. Is there any authority that is prepared to find out my energy saving technique? Please emailƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 


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