Tuesday, 28 February 2012

How Many Ways Can You Use a Coconut?

For me, coconut trees evoke the memory of the street I grew up on- a quiet place lined with palm trees rising tall in front of the modest villas. The gardens where these trees grew were well-tended, layered with the colours and smells of bougainvillea, morning glory, frangipani, jasmine, periwinkle, Rangoon creeper and other plants. Yet, I was living in no tropical paradise.

Beyond the soothing whispers of the palms, beyond the street security barrier manned by a burly chowkidar, there was always the sheer press of Karachi’s teeming crowds, ethnic clashes, political instability, the bang and shatter of gunfire, regular news of bombs and bodies dumped in bags. Although we were cocooned in relative peace, the times were tainted with confusion, turbulence and often fear, as indeed they are today. In those days, the coconut palms dotting the violent landscape of my city came to signify a particularly defiant strain of grace and beauty for me.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Gorgeous, Glossy Red Cabbage: Soup, Salad and Pleasure

Nature knew what it was doing when it gave red cabbage its gorgeous, glossy colour. These days I cannot seem to return from the supermarket without a piece of this locally grown, beautiful and nutritious vegetable in the bag. The colour alone, both raw and cooked warrants the amount of red cabbage we seem to be consuming in soups and hearty salads on these mild middle eastern winter days. And of course, the deep deep red pigment also reflects a superb nutrition profile- a high concentration of phytonutrients and a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

I have been reading Michael Pollan's book In Defence of Food and what a brilliant read it is! With his unique perspective on food, society and health, Pollan strives to free us from the clutches of 'nutritionism'- the modern trend of breaking every single food down to its individual nutrients.