World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16th October to mark the initiation of a global move towards hunger eradication. It came into existence to celebrate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in the year 1945. Over 150 countries across the globe, including UN Member countries, organize events to celebrate World Food Day every year. It is one of the “most celebrated days of the UN calendar,” as mentioned on WFD official website.
World Food Day aims to educate people across the world about the existing menace of global hunger and that right to safe, hygienic and nutritious food is one of the basic necessities for all humans all across the globe. Food security and sustainability are other issues that revolve around the commemoration of World Food Day. This year’s theme calls for a wave of investment in food security and rural development.
Talking of food security and sustainability, a lot rests on checking these concepts on the microcosmic level. Only if we keep a check on what happens in our kitchens or the local grocery store, a substantial change may begin to take shape. This World Food Day, let us join hands in the fight against global hunger by ensuring less food wastage and sustainable kitchen practices that may help reduce food wastage and enable optimum utilization of resources. This World Food Day, let us pledge to follow simple practices that will go a long way in making the planet a more sustainable place – free from hunger, wastage and toxic items.
This World Food Day, you shall…
1. Try and grow your own veggies
It is simple, inexpensive and so much easier. Start by owning an herb balcony and as you cultivate the interest further, go on by widening the expanse of your practice. Once you begin to grow your own veggies, invariably you’d be careful toward wasting the same being mindful of the amount of hard work, time, patience and resources gone into growing the same.
2. Minimize kitchen waste
Talk to people and you will end up learning a great deal on how to minimize kitchen waste. If you do a lot of cooking with meats, the best way to make use of the discarded bones is by adding them in preparing hearty bone broths. Peels from fruits and vegetables can amount for most of your everyday kitchen waste; you can simply use these in generating compost that will help enrich the soil for gardening purpose, et cetera. Fruits and vegetable peels can be put to various other uses. Items like lemon or orange rind can be sun-dried, powdered and used in your skin care routine. Many people use peels from vegetables like ridge gourd and cook them separately into delectable curry preparations.
Get in the habit of segregating your everyday kitchen waste into dry and wet. Our water purifiers are one of the biggest tools of waster wastage; they waste more water than what is purified. Use the discarded water to water your plants, wash cloths or utensils.
3. Tweak the way you cook and store ingredients
In case you are going to be left with some fruits or veggies that will not be used in cooking anytime soon, use them for making condiments like jams, marmalade, pickles, sauces, chutney, et cetera. Make use of leftover food too. A sustainable kitchen is also the one that is energy efficient, therefore it will not hurt if you switch your regular mode of cooking to steaming or pressure cooking. The latter is the fastest, easiest and healthiest way to prepare meals; it saves up cook-time, therefore conserves energy.
Switch-off your gas-stove whenever not in use and try more of induction cooking to save energy. The way you store food items and ingredients may also help in minimizing waste. Herbs like coriander and mint quickly get dry, buy them in small quantities and store them properly to avoid getting them wasted. Some ingredients ripen faster when stored with other food items. For example, bananas must always be brought slightly unripe and wrapped in a paper bag, stored separately to slow down their ripening process. Be smart about your grocery shopping and buy only what and how much is needed.
4. Have your way around plastic
Plastic waste is infamous just because of the fact that a single piece of plastic is non-degradable and the bio-degradable ones may even take years and years to breakdown. Restaurants and various entities in the food space are trying out ways to curb the use of plastic and associated waste stemming from the industry. While one of the initial moves was a vehement no to the use of plastic cutlery including glasses and even straws, the Indian government has now begun a serious crackdown on the use of plastic bags in the market.
5. Go organic
Nutritious food free of pesticides, processing or additives is essential to one and all. Going organic not only promises good health but also a brighter future for the journey toward a sustainable planet.
This World Food Day, let us be the change at the grassroots to facilitate a bigger wave of transformation.
Learn all about cooking bone broths
Bone Broth: A Health Tonic You Should Be Sipping On
- Bone broth no doubt comes with a host of health benefits
- Even bones and leftover skins can be put to good use
- For Indian flavours, play around with whole spices
There are so many – Paleo, Atkins, Whole30, Ketogenic, Mediterranean, Dukan – each claiming to have cracked the code to all our weight related issues. Most of them are almost convincing enough to make us jump the gun instantly. Every other day there seems to be a miracle ingredient that if made a part of our regular diet can boost our health like no other. I feel in India, where home cooked meals are customary, there are many such nutritious ingredients that are almost a way of life. So imagine my plight when I read about bone broth – a nutritious soup that my mother makes almost every fortnight – being reintroduced as meat/ beef tea, much like the Turmeric Latte or Haldi Doodh spectacle.
The numero uno tonic of Paleo diet (which is based on eating like how our ancestors did, living on fruits, berries and meat), bone broth no doubt comes with a host of health benefits. It is made by slow cooking bones along with some shreds of meat for a really long time (24-48 hours even!). Flavour boosters like onion, garlic, herbs, black pepperand other spices can also be tipped in during the cooking process to lend in more depth. In the end, what you acquire in your cooking pot is a velvety, amber hued liquid from disintegrated bones, which is immensely delectable. Since during the cooking process various vital minerals, amino acids and collagen are extracted from the bones, it is touted as an incredible drink that helps in boosting energy and immunity, strengthening the joints and promoting better sleep.
Bone Broth – the Nutritious Fix
What I love about recipes like bone broth is the fact that even bones and leftover skins are put to good use. Perhaps that was how it was conceptualised in the first place. As a hunting tradition, our ancestors are known to have used the entire animal, leaving nothing behind, as a show of respect. My mother follows the same ideology. When meat is brought in the house, the chunkier bones are segregated and kept in a separate container in the freezer. During the course of the week, as various dishes are prepared, more bones are collected and added to that container. In the end, those bones are slow cooked to make a hearty broth, which is served with freshly baked dinner rolls and pie.
Traditionally, across various cuisines, bone broth was often used as the foundation for preparing soups, gravies and sauces. Take our Nalli Nihari for instance; it is an outcome of bone broth. While many refer to bone broth as meat stock, they are different from each other. Both of them use bones, cartilage and skin which when heated gives them their gelatinous texture, but stocks are devoid of seasonings. A broth, on the other hand, can be enjoyed on its own as various ingredients are added to it to boost the flavour.
How to Make Bone Broth
Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee of Indigo Deli says, “A bone broth is simple to make, requiring only a few ingredients but tons of patience. If done right, it has the potential to lift an average dish to ethereal star restaurant level. A good broth is always a result of slow simmer. You can’t rush it. You need at least half a day for broths made from beef, porkor goat. Most great restaurants would have it on the fire for over a day!”
Chef Vikram Khatri of Guppy says, “We make a cha shu stock for our ramen from pork where we use bones from the ribs, trotters and the head (with the brain removed). First you need to take off any blood or blood vessels from the bones, and wash clean. Then break the bones into smaller pieces using a hammer. Depending on when you started cooking, it is essential to continue to boil the broth for 24 hours or until desired consistency and colour is reached, the meat has completely separated and broken down in the broth.”
When my mother prepares bone broth, she starts in the morning, keeping it in the back burner throughout the day. We get to savour the heart soup only for dinner. Yes, it takes a good amount of patience to make it but is worth all the effort.
Tips to keep in mind while making bone broth at home –
1. Get the freshest bones possible
2. Knuckles and joints work the best as they contain the most collagen.
3. Bones should be clean and devoid of muscle trimmings, fat and blood as these make the broth cloudy
4. Bones – especially hardy ones from large carcasses should be blanched once prior to use.
5. Slow cook the broth for at least half a day for good flavour.
6. Bone to water ratio: the general rule of the thumb is to add enough water to cover the bones. Water is replenished from time to time as more and more of it evaporates during the prolonged cooking process.
Adding Flavours to Bone Broth
You can add a host of flavours to make the broth more palatable. It all depends on what you would like to create. If you want to use the broth as a base to make other soups like French onion, consommé or shorbas then you can add in the vegetables, spices and herbs accordingly. However, Chef Mukherjee points out, “It is important to note that spices and herbs, more so the latter, have extremely volatile fragrant oils; they should be added in only during the later stages of cooking and not be subjected to prolonged cooking.”
For Indian flavours, you can play around with whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg or saffron, and for European flavours, try aromatic vegetables like parsnips, carrots, leek and celery coupled with herbs like rosemary and tarragon. I usually like to sprinkle a good amount of freshly ground black pepper along with ginger gratings, especially during winters. Chef Khatri uses a mix of veggies and seaweed to add some depth to the ramen broth.
Recipes to Try at Home
1. Cha Shu Broth
Recipe by Chef Vikram Khatri
A delectable pork broth made using the bones, it is flavoured with seaweed and a handful of vegetables and slow cooked for hours for the flavours to develop. For the recipe click, here.
2. Seared Mushrooms and Chicken Broth
Recipe by Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee
A hearty broth made using chicken and an assortment of mushrooms – button, shiitake, shimeji, enoki, chanterelle, and simmered for over 6 hours. Patience is the key here! For the recipe, click here.