Saturday, April 1

Necessity becomes mother of innovation as families prioritize rationing in crisis

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Girish Vasandani freezes leftovers and extra portions to be used as side dishes in lunch the next day.

Purnima Ghosh is padding the meals with a lot of vegetables and dairy products at the dining table.

Rachna Agarwal takes stock of provisions in the kitchen every day before she decides what to make for lunch and dinner.

The lockdown by the government to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus is prompting families in Kolkata to strategize and ration everything from shopping to stocking to cooking. Households are creating meals around ingredients that are available, figuring out ways to reduce wastage and updating the grocery list several times a day.

“These are not normal times and staying indoors is the key to survival. So it is important to make sure that the food lasts as long as possible,” said Vasandani, a businessman and resident of Convent Road. He has been making sure that any leftover is kept in the refrigerator to be used as a side dish for lunch or dinner the next day. “Generally, people do not like to eat the same dish on consecutive days, but we can’t afford to do that now. We make sure that every bit is consumed.”

When options are limited and people can’t go shopping in big groups, even the most adept cook can be challenged.

Homemaker Rupanwita Sengupta has been planning meals around what is available in her pantry instead of stocking her kitchen with ingredients to cook the dishes she desires. “Before the lockdown it was easier to hop over to the market. I wouldn’t think twice before cooking rice and mutton. But now, with mutton being so expensive and hardly available, I am cooking with whatever is at my disposal.”

Purnima Ghosh, a schoolteacher and resident of Chetla, is padding all the meals with vegetables and dairy products. “So, there are lot vegetables, chana and curd for lunch and dinner at my place for two reasons. First, vegetables and milk are readily available and second, it is important to have fibre and vitamins,” said Ghosh.

Santoshpur resident and a private firm employee Debosree Chowdhury, who has been working from home, is trying out innovative dishes with minimum requirements to get through the lockdown. “It is a test of my culinary skills as well,” she said.

Yoga instructor Rachna Agarwal is under self-isolation and steps out only when the stock in her kitchen starts depleting. “I have made an inventory, which I update every day. I refer to it before planning meals to understand what I have at my disposal. We try to finish perishable items like vegetables, read and milk first to avoid wastage,” said the Lake Town resident.


Source: Times of India

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