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Archive for the ‘How’ Category

Hopelessly devoted and endlessly grateful … bread, revisited

In How on 16 December 2018 at 8:52 pm

I’ve been baking bread since I was a teenager and yet every so often I become giddy with wonder at the amazingness of its aroma, texture and the head-to-toe comfort it brings.  I cannot contain my awe in the face of my own bread.  And at the magic of microbes.

small breadThere is an online forum called The Fresh Loaf full of people like me. Except actually these people are way way ahead of me.
Read the rest of this entry »

Milling Wheat, part 1

In How, Recipes on 21 October 2018 at 12:00 am

Well the happy thing is that I need not live another day without freshly milled flour.  My sister mills.  I have friends who mill at home.  The women who work in our house and neighborhood in Mumbai don’t buy flour.  They take their grains to the shop to have them freshly milled.  The corner shop mills grain every day and sells it in bulk, but many of the middle class consumers prefer to buy brand name flour in packages, even though it may be several weeks old.

In the US you cannot find a corner shop that will mill grain for you, but you can buy a family size mill for home use.  A friend of mine bought one several years ago.  She has gone back to school now.  With that plus two kids, she isn’t milling like she used to.  She mentioned that if I wanted, I could try it out sometime.

Reader, I borrowed it. Read the rest of this entry »

Ask Amma 360-degree revolution workout

In How, What on 9 October 2018 at 8:00 pm

With Democracy Now! live in the background, Amma gets ready for a new day with this 360-degree revolution workout. Stop, drop and exercise your arms and legs, back and abs, with no impact to feet or knees, no need to go anywhere, no special clothes or even socks and shoes.

This 16-minute workout takes 16 minutes of your time. And you can listen to the news while you stretch and strengthen and prepare for a new day.

Nutan Pandit: Medical students need soft skills

In How on 17 September 2018 at 8:02 pm

How can women have access to the entire health, social support structure that makes normal delivery normal?

Aravinda of Ask Amma sat down with childbirth educator Nutan Pandit at the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference that took place at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai in February 2017.

 

Dr. Neil Shah: “Midwives Need to be at the Center”

In How on 17 September 2018 at 8:00 pm

Aravinda of Ask Amma sat down with Dr. Neil Shah at the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference and asked him to explain his position that in the matter of maternal and child health, the hospital could be a risk factor, and what he recommends for higher quality outcomes in childbirth.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, February 2017.

Father, tell me about Kashmir

In How on 23 July 2016 at 11:00 am

A young boy asks his father, “What happened in Kashmir?”

father son sunset

Those of us sheltered from the daily horrors that have become a way of life in far too much of the world may be unprepared to answer honestly when our children ask us questions like this.  How do we reveal much less “explain” the violence in the world, when we don’t quite understand it ourselves?

Fred Rogers said about talking to children about such events – “look for the helpers.”  In any horrible scene (e.g. that you might read in the news) there will also be people who are helping, even if it is only the reporter bringing public attention to it.

Going one step further, one can try to be a helper – even from a distance, as this father tried to do.

“B, We have to go a protest today. Do you want to come too?”
“What is this protest, Acha (Dad in Malayalam)?”
“It is about a place called Kashmir. A lot of people have been killed and blinded there by the police and the army.”
“What happened there?”
“Ok, Let me tell you…..”

Read the rest of this entry »

Priceless Birthday Presents

In How on 12 June 2016 at 2:43 pm
As I was sending out invitations for our daughter’s birthday party, the question of gifts crossed my mind.  A long time ago I read in one of Miss Manners’ advice columns that it was bad manners to expect a gift.  Therefore, it followed that it was was not polite to offer any instructions about gifts to give or not give.  Although Miss Manners made a slight concession for children’s birthday parties, I agreed with her logic and simply kept gifts out of our vocabulary when inviting friends for parties.
Her concession, as I recall, was that one could, for example, decorate the invitation with images of say, books or trains, as a hint to parents wondering what to bring as a gift.  From the perspective of a parent of a child attending a birthday party, I can appreciate that it is nice to get such a hint.  But surely we can do better than that?  Can we not take the time to give a gift from the heart?
Also, let’s face it.  It’s 2016.  We know the Story of Stuff.

 

No one wants birthdays to be about accumulating more stuff.  But what is the alternative?

Read the rest of this entry »

Sari Sling in a Jiffy

In Field Notes, How on 14 March 2016 at 6:29 am

Arpitha Shankar, Amma to two daughters, aged 4 and 2, in Bangalore, shares her family’s experience trying out baby wearing using a sari wrapped around baby’s Appa!

Our daughter loves to be carried everywhere… although we used to enjoy it when she was a baby, as she became heavier, carrying her for long periods left us exhausted quickly especially when we used to go for short hikes. Thats when we came across baby wearing. The DIY youtube videos are so simple to follow and a cotton saree is enough to make a comfortable sling to carry her around. The first time around we didnt get her to sit in a deep seated position so that her legs are in M position, but nevertheless, both my daughter and husband were ecstatstic. The best thing was being handsfree and doing the other chores freely with the baby happily in the sling.

Arpitha Shankar sling

Vel and his 4 year-old daughter are ready for a hike!


 

Ask Amma thanks Arpitha, Vel and their daughters for sharing these lovely photos.

Whiteness, Food Colors, and Food Culture

In How on 4 September 2015 at 8:00 am

Food Colors and Food Culture

“No race ever yet ate black bread when it could get white; nor even brown, yellow, or other mulatto tint.”

Dr. Woods Hutchinson in McClure’s magazine, 1906.

In the mass conversion towards refined and processed foods that has swept much of the world over the past few generations, many foods normally occurring in a wide variety of earth tones, became white, as if a formidable fairness cream had descended upon the food industry.   White flour, white sugar, white bread, white spaghetti, white rice, white upma ravva, white urad dal occupied the markets.  At first a status symbol for those who could afford them, refined foods later became a status symbol for those who need not eat the coarser grains because they lived a delicate life and could hire workers to do their heavy lifting for them.  Eventually they themselves became cheaper than their whole grain counterparts, while the nutritious polish and peels were diverted to the livestock industry.

Thirty years ago, Sidney Mintz unpacked the social, economic and political context of food in his seminal work, Sweetness and Power.  The history of whiteness and power with respect to food offers much to explore.   While evolutionary biology may account for our predilection towards the quick calories that processed foods offer, taste and food habits evolve under a variety of influences and cultural messages.  Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Father’s Day

In How on 21 June 2015 at 3:21 am

With best wishes for father’s day, some inspiration from father of thirteen, Leonhard Euler:

Euler claimed that he made some of his greatest mathematical discoveries while holding a baby in his arms with other children playing round his feet….

Euler claimed that he made some of his greatest mathematical discoveries while holding a baby in his arms with other children playing round his feet….

Thanks to J J O’Connor and E F Robertson, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Scotland.

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