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Cooking Vessels – Steel, Iron and More

In What on 26 August 2014 at 3:40 pm

My pots are starting to scratch and I am afraid to use steel utensils with them.  I have some plastic utensils but I am worried about using them on hot food.  What cooking vessels should I use?

Please, please do not use that scratched up pot.  And please banish the plastic from the kitchen.  At least the cooking part of the kitchen. Why not use a pot that doesn’t  scratch – such as one made of cast iron or stainless steel? I will let you do your own reading on the hazards of cooking with aluminium, or using plastic for stirring or storing hot foods.  I will just briefly comment below.

A steel spatula on non-stick cookware will eventually scratch the surface.

A steel spatula on non-stick cookware will eventually scratch the surface.

Why you should not cook in the following materials (and what you should use instead): Read the rest of this entry »

Sprouts Unlock Nutrients

In What on 15 July 2014 at 11:25 pm

Are sprouts a good source of probiotics?   How can we increase probiotics in our diet?

Amma of a 4-year old in Bangalore

Well, Chetana, thanks for asking.  Many of us know generally that soaking, sprouting and fermenting all have an important role to play in making nutrients more available.  Considering that the grains themselves do most of the work, it’s a wonder that in spite of knowing this we don’t always do it.  There could hardly be an easier way to multiply nutrients while doing nothing.  Now let us look at how and what.


Mung Beans Sprouting in a Colander

Read the rest of this entry »

“The sling became part of my attire”

In What on 10 July 2014 at 7:47 pm

“This sling became part of my attire, like an essential thing that you can’t forget when you get out of the house.”

– Rajitha Gopinath, Mumbai

Rajitha and Kavya at sunset

Rajitha and Kavya

Rajitha, Amma to 3 year-old Kavya and newborn Karthik, knows how to make the most of available resources.  Reminding us of the lovely places to explore in Mumbai, she writes about Parks of Mumbai.  You can see her here taking in the sunset with her daughter, who rides along in a simple sling that Rajitha fashioned with sturdy wooden bangles.   Unlike any other ring sling I have ever seen, this requires no sewing and you can get it ready to wear in a minute.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning from Failure

In What on 19 March 2014 at 6:22 am

An Amma recently told me, by way of commenting on an AskAmma post that she felt like a “failure” because she had not done certain things the way not she would have liked to.

This got me thinking about the role of failure.

First, let me quote an astute AskAmma contributor, 8 year old Sahith, who told his mother, when he was 8 years old,

Amma, you know what would be a good exercise for you?
For five hours, you let me make as many mistakes as I want
and you sit and just watch without saying anything.

From “Mistakes

Second let me quote a science textbook I recently got. Read the rest of this entry »

Resources for Continuum Learning

In What on 28 January 2014 at 4:31 am

Work with the fundamentals of lifelong learning from birth


How do we set the foundation for lifelong learning?  In the early months and years of life, these five resources will help you practice continuum learning with your little ones.  Follow-Up to Attachment Parenting and Continuum Learning.  Scroll down for summary table of  Resources and Skills Learned.

1. Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding helps children learn a vital skill that they need all their lives:  how to eat.

Children’s first introduction to the flavors and feelings of food comes through breastfeeding.  As they gradually increase the variety and quantity of the food they eat, nursing serves as a safety net, allowing them freedom to try foods without any obligation to eat a given quantity by a given time.  Breastfeeding babies have time to acquire taste for a healthy variety of foods, while assured nutrition through mother’s diet.  Nursing also provides antibodies that help little ones as they explore the wider world and…

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Party Treats

In Recipes, What on 15 January 2014 at 2:30 pm

I’d have called this post “Healthy Party Treats” but in present company that goes without saying, doesn’t it?  When I was little, people used the word “healthy” pronounced hell-thee as a synonym for “fat.”  I would say “euphemism” except that it was actually kind of a compliment.  Pleasantly plump, with pleasantly understood.  Ah how times change.

Tender Coconut  - fun for all ages

Tender Coconut – fun for all ages

What makes a food a party food …?  Is it merely something you don’t eat every day, eaten in the company of people you don’t meet every day?  Which if you think about it, means almost anything counts!  A plate of carrot sticks will disappear in no time amidst a lively crowd and yet who would think of carrots as party food? Read the rest of this entry »

10 Ideas for Simple Fun Party Favors

In What on 5 January 2014 at 1:05 pm

You’ve already done everyone a favour by throwing a party.  Warm goodbyes are a fine way to see guests off after a party.

Stuff …

Stuff …

Why distribute stuff that simply contributes to the expectation that people are supposed to get stuff at a birthday party?  Anyway, balloons are bad for wildlife, noisemakers make, well, noise, and plastic boxes and trinkets clutter the house and ruin the environment.  All just more stuff – as in the Story of Stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Called a Party Favour!

In What on 5 January 2014 at 11:55 am

Time for Amma to step upon the soapbox for a topic on which she has had to bite her tongue on many an occasion.  No longer!

Please note:  there is no such thing as a “return gift.”    You may have heard this phrase and even used it yourself, but to quote to higher authority, “These practices are no less vulgar for having become commonplace.”  Miss Manners is talking about practices such as gift registries and continues,  “There is no polite way to tell people to give you money or objects.[1]

Calling something a “return gift” indicates that you expected a gift in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Nursing Kurta

In What on 30 October 2013 at 10:20 pm

Visit the shops and you will find nursing nighties.  What about nursing kurtas?  Nursing nighties are all well and good when you are nursing at night or if you are one of those who wears nighties in the daytime*.  But that is not me!  (Even if the Firstpost has “hailed” the nightie as “India’s National Dress.”)

You are of course free to nurse your baby anytime, anywhere and in any wear.  No special clothing is required to nurse your baby.   Read the rest of this entry »

Anger management for a toddler?

In What on 9 August 2013 at 6:39 pm

I want to figure out how to react to anger outbursts. Our daughter is known to have at least one of these in a day — getting angry over something seemingly minor and inconsequential (admittedly from an adult perspective).

Like yesterday, while I was browsing an IKEA catalog sitting next to her, she spotted a picture of her bed in there and took the book from my hand. After a while I requested it back and began flipping, but soon realized that she got angry at me for losing the page where her bed was. Before I knew it, she was flinging her toy tray at me. Later she repeated the act once again with the tray and then with the catalog itself. Her anger at me losing the page sustained for a good 15 minutes or so even after letting her calmly know that it was unacceptable for her to behave that way, and changing setting etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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