Do you know that cooking at least one meal a day in iron vessel can help you to fight anaemia? See the screen shot. Yes! we are on the top of the list of women and children suffering from iron deficiency or anaemia with 60 percent of them in the bracket. Now, that not the top we would aspire to be at!!
Similarly, there are other disorders and deficiencies which can be combatted by using certain ingredients, utensils or cooking methods. The community food innovation lab is a place where we learn and teach such things. The idea is to ensure that the community (we mean the working class which works!) gets maximum nutrition out of the money they spend and they get supplementary nutrition from the so-called waste resources like skin (epicarp) of vegetables, weeds, leaves of perennial trees, etc. We started this experiment last year at the GIAN stand at Sattvik-traditional food festival organised by SRISTI-Ahmedabad. It was a huge success.
We learnt about a dish made of fruits of pipar, pipali (probably Ficus amplissima Sm. (see http://www.efloraofgandhinagar.in/tree/ficus-amplissima), don’t confuse it will Peepal i.e. Ficus religiosa). We had never heard of it and of the results that some of the search engines yielded, we could not find a reference. But a woman at Nanodra village, near Bavla made it and we ate it. That it is edible is proven by the fact that I am writing about this nearly 10 months from the date of consumption and I am hail and hearty as always!
Let me give you another example, we know that as kids we hated bitter gourd, pointed gourd, etc. Last year, in the recipe competition conducted by SRISTI, a participant made a sweet dish by mixing them and we relished it. In the community food lab one of the stall owners made seera (sweet dish) of papaya, Dharmendra bhai Pandya. Prof Anil Gupta became our correspondent of the day and people around the world saw it live. Appreciation from all corners was received (I am not sure if he got it or the dish, but would like to believe that the dish got it).
The initial response encouraged us to try this at different places. So far so good. We are getting support, energy and enthusiasm from the community members and we need some more support (red financial support as well) to sustain it for a long time. We conducted some workshops at Saraswati nagar, Mansi and Sadar bazar, now planning at Vastral.
Meanwhile we are waiting for our mobile kitchenette which can demonstrate this at different corners of the city, at places where migrants, labourers, etc., live. Oh Yes! We are a little biased. Of the meagre resources we have, we must prioritise. Do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want the next session to happen in your kitchen and you have enough people willing to learn and share the space with other community members we might invite. Also, if you want to sponsor a module or two, we will be happy to provide you more details. The more, the merrier. Stay healthy, stay happy.