All posts by Sanat

Chutneys Making A Difference!

Whether it’s being a pharmacist, a food blogger, a culinary photographer or a mother – Mrs. Aparna Mudiganti Parinam dons many hats. And I daresay, she does justice to them all. She is also a Hunger Hero from Goa who has recently authored the book “Chutneys Adding Spice To Your Life”. But that’s not all. She has generously decided to donate all of the proceeds from the book’s sales to Feeding India. The extent of her philanthropy is truly laudable. So, this post is a homage to her altruism and culinary brilliance whose sweetness intends to spice up the lives of many people edging on penury. I’m sure that your heart is drooling to know more about her, as mine did during the following interview –

 

How did you fall in love with food and food photography?– from your blog I can tell that you carry forth recipes handed down from generation to generation. Who has been your biggest food influence? – the food/dish that takes you back to your childhood?

Aparna: When my daughter started growing up and wanted to taste varied dishes – that is the time I fell in love with food. And I try to make healthy dishes for her and my family. Later, since last year, I developed a keen interest in food photography – and it is become my foremost passion. Dibbarotti – stout Indian bread and kobbaripacchadi (red coconut chutney), these two dishes are very memorable to me and bring back nostalgic memories of my childhood days.

 

How did you get to know about FI and for how long have you been a hunger hero? Are you still in FI?

Aparna: I came across it as I was searching the internet for ways to eradicate hunger. In my view, nobody in this world should remain hungry and am very passionate about the noble cause for which Feeding India is working for. I have been with FI for the past six months. Yes, I am a member of the Goa chapter.

 

What made you join FI? How do you think FI is revolutionizing the way the issue of hunger is handed in India?

Aparna: Since childhood, I was disturbed by the problem of hunger faced by so many people in this world. I try to share food with the needy, whenever I can, as I always carry some biscuits or candy with me in my bag. So when I came across a sincere and dedicated NGO like FI, I immediately joined it. FI is working towards a very noble cause armed with its sincere and selfless volunteers. Their work is truly commendable and I hope more of our Indian citizens contribute to this cause of eradicating hunger in India and the world.

 

What did you learn from your time in FI?

Aparna: That sharing and partaking food to the needy and hungry is the highest form of service to mankind and it is a very humbling gesture.

 

What was the chief inspiration for your book “Chutneys – Adding Spice to Life”?

Aparna: My mother has played an important role inspiring me to write this book. Also, mother in laws tasty chutneys had an influence on me. It has been my endeavour to preserve the rich culinary legacy of chutneys of Andhra through this book.

 

Is it also available as an e-book? Where can one order it (the official link to buy your book online)?

Aparna: The e-book will be available shortly. And on various online bookstores, eg. Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/1948372371

Flipkart: https://www.flipkart.com/chutneys-adding-spice-your-life-over-50-traditional-south-indian-pacchadis-handed-generations-sprinkled-some-food-memoirs/p/itmffhz8xtczqg8a?pid=9781948372374&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&lid=LSTBOK9781948372015LRRCRE&fm=SEARCH&iid=11950e32-b657-486f-bcfe-65596ffddc1c.9781948372015.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page&ppn=Search%20Page&ssid=6m2xlc7qs00000001516094831872&qH=6859600c6f89f32d

Also, on Shopclues and Infibeam!

(By then, you can quench your appetite by reading her delectable recipes on her blog – www.tangytales.com)

 

Can you reveal any juicy details?

Aparna: Sure. The common souring agent to make these chutneys is tamarind. However, only some chutneys use lime juice like carrot chutney. Also, I have listed the recipes for dry chutneys – podis or spicy lentil powders which have a long shelf life and are versatile. One can sprinkle these on idlis, or serve as a dip for dosas, as a spread on bread or rotis too! Did you know – a chutney can be made with besan (chickpea flour) too and it is made exclusively as a dip of idlis!

 

How did the process make you feel, in an entirety (From growing up in Andhra – working as a hunger hero in Goa – having a book come out, the proceeds of which you have generously determined to donate to FI)? Doesn’t it feel like life has come a full circle?

Aparna: Yes, indeed. Life is wonderful and I am happy that my book has been published. It is highly satisfying that I could record my mothers and mother-in-law’s traditional chutneys and some other Andhra dishes via this book. I was born in Andhra Pradesh and grew up in Goa. Growing up in Goa, I have had a very peaceful and satisfying life, all the while savouring Andhra food prepared lovingly by my mother. And I lived in Hyderabad for a couple of years, after getting married and relished my mother in law’s traditional dishes. Later, I moved back to Goa and continued to make these traditional dishes including chutneys. Indeed I have been lucky to have the best of both the worlds! I feel honoured and blessed to donate the proceeds of my book to FI. I will do my best to contribute towards the noble cause of eradicating hunger in India through FI.

 

It was surely a pleasure to get to know this rooted humanitarian whose big-hearted donation is on track to change the lives of many-a people for the better.

 

– Guntaas Chugh

UberEATS X Feeding India

Uber Eats is an on-demand food delivery app powered by Uber, that brings millions of people their favourite food from their favourite restaurants at the push of a button! Uber Eats currently operates in 7 cities in India and is rapidly expanding across the country. On the occasion of the launch of Uber Eats in West Delhi, the Feeding India team partnered with them to work on our mission of eradicating malnutrition and food wastage in India.

Using special codes given out by the Uber Eats team, our team placed 1000’s of orders from the top restaurants of West Delhi and got them delivered to our shelter homes in Dwarka, Janakpuri & Uttam Nagar helping us provide breakfast, lunch, evening & dinner meals for more than 6000 children, elderly and specially-abled!

 

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We thank Uber Eats for their help in getting us one step closer to our goal of Zero Hunger. Seeing such dedication and commitment from them, inspires us to work with them on more such campaigns and keep moving towards our goal of a hunger-free world.

When are you playing Santa next?

Harsh winds whirl in the cold winter night and under the star-lit sky an empty stomach sleeps hungry tonight. It’s Christmas Eve but Chhotu, like countless other underprivileged kids is oblivious to the spirit of the occasion. He receives no gifts under the Christmas tree, heck, he can’t even afford the Christmas tree nor a roof to keep it under. And while he’s snoozing away unaware of the reason for celebration, somebody somewhere is making plans for him – making a list and checking it twice!

Chhotu is our garbage pick-up boy. He’s merely sixteen but his financial problems have forced him to live a life of incomplete education and inadequate nutrition. I and my family members often take pity on him and occasionally offer him a packet of biscuits with a cup of chai – heavily sweetened to his liking. But this Hanukkah when dad asked me what I wanted for the festival, I refused him to treat me with any presents at all. I wanted to rise above my oblivious, privileged self. My ears twitched for a role-reversal. This time I wanted to play Santa.

So, on Christmas morning when Chhotu rang the bell and patiently waited outside for us to bring the garbage to the door, I dare say we exceeded his expectations… by a long shot. Instead of the usual garbage bins, he was greeted by two enormous sized gifts. He just stood staring for a second – paralysed – too surprised to grasp the situation instantly. Then, before even taking the gift, streams of tears gushed like floods down his cheeks. I put down the presents and we all embraced him lovingly. I’m pretty certain he’ll remember Christmas now.

It doesn’t always take a lot of time or money to bring a smile to someone’s face. Given that selfless giving and spreading cheer and joy are the hallmarks of Christmas, I think it’s safe to say that it was a Christmas well spent. So, when are you playing Santa next?

– Guntaas Chugh

#HungerHeroStories: Shital from Ahmedabad

Shital, the city leader of the Ahmedabad chapter, is a ‘Hunger Hero’ in the truest sense. She knew right from childhood that she wanted to be engaged in volunteering to create a meaningful impact on her environment. A sensitive and committed leader, she was moved by the plight of homeless children, bereft of wholesome meals and a proper diet. So, she set out to change this agonising reality and founded Feeding India’s Ahmedabad chapter.  

 

She is a firm believer in the philosophy of starting small and building it up from there. So, Shital led her team of dedicated volunteers to take on the challenge of feeding as many hungry mouths as they possibly can, everyday 365 days a year. What started out as a weekly donation drive has now become a cherished daily ritual. Everyday, Shital and her team collect leftovers from restaurants and hotels all across Ahmedabad from 10 pm to 10:30 pm. After which they personally distribute all of this food to hungry children and families, between 10:30 pm to 1 am, thereby ensuring that quality food reaches those who are in dire need of it. To her, this is more than just a routine job, it is a fulfilling experience that fuels her desire to do more for her community. Just about 9 months ago, Shital just had an idea, a simple idea that’d help feed some, if not all. Today, she and her team of have successfully partnered with nine different restaurants and hotels, and have been able to sensitise varied communities towards those who are forced to sleep on an empty stomach.  

 

Shital hopes that in the future more and more people from her neighbourhood and city are motivated to join her in our shared fight against hunger. She would, ideally, want to have 9 ‘Magic Trucks’ functioning full time in her city to collect food from every nook and corner of Ahmedabad,  which can help feed numerous hungry souls. But, most importantly she wants to live to witness a change in the attitudes of people towards food waste and hunger. She encourages one and all to have healthy relationships with food and to commit to working towards fostering a hunger ridden world for all.
Shital is a true inspiration for one and all. Her ingenuity and flexibility, with regards to working with available resources to create a lasting impact on society, is truly commendable. Her unflinching and selfless commitment towards the goal of ‘zero-hunger’ should serve as motivation for all of us,  to do our bit to solve the menace of hunger.

Sabri Shines Away to Glory

22-year-old mother Sabri lives in Nizamuddin Shelter Home with her three kids. Talking to her made me realise the hardships of life and how a positive attitude goes a long way towards fulfilling your wishes.

She is a proud mother who beamed when asked about her kids. Her eldest, Sarbar, is four years old. Right now her main worry is about his education and whether or not she will be able to afford to get him admitted to a school. The second in line is Ehsaan, who is just shy of 2 years. He is fascinated by shiny objects and is always in a jolly mood. Her youngest is Shazia, who will complete five months in October.

The family has been through a lot in the past 6 months because of her alcoholic husband who stopped supporting them financially. Sabri herself had to ensure the survival of her and her three kids. Her eyes almost teared up talking about the past and all that her children had to go through because of financial problems. Yet she remains a positive person and tries her best to make sure that her kids get a better life than she did. She just wants to see them happy and make something of themselves.

She looks forward to the visits by Feeding India volunteers because she knows that through them, her kids will get to eat nutritious food. She also says that the kids have a fun time in the interactive secessions that they hold. In a very eager voice, she asked me to teach her how to write her kids names in English. In the very first try, she produced it and in a beautiful handwriting as well.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish all good things for her and her beautiful kids and hope to see them soon.

– Asmita Narang

Tips to Reduce Food Wastage

In this fast-paced world, we carry out a great many needless acts without realizing the benefits that are deprived. Out of numerous such activities, one is wastage of food and a lot of us are active participants in it. Do you know, more than one-third of all food produced across the globe is wasted or left to spoil!

Can you recall the last time you did not throw away your unused meal but offered it to someone in need? If you can, well congratulations, we need more people like you and in case you cannot, welcome to the larger community of individuals who need a massive revision of their actions. As they say, change begins from our own homes; so here are some simple ways by which we can reduce food wastage at our homes:

When preparing, don’t over-serve food

We can avoid over-serving friends or family when preparing meals by using small plates and small serving sizes. This avoids the scenario of leftover food in our plates and hence, prevents wastage.

Save food and consume leftovers

Always make sure to save uneaten food when you cook too much or order in excess at a restaurant. Ensure to store it properly and consume or donate before its contents become unhealthy.

Keep track of what we buy and dump

It is essential to have a record of everything you’re dumping in order to not repeat it in the coming future. Also, we must check our supply of food before we go out to shop. That way we won’t overstuff our refrigerators, at the same time keeping a check on food wastage.

Practice food donation

Before discarding excess food, look up for the organizations that can help in handing it out to the people in need. It not only prevents wastage of surplus food but also redirects it to those in need.

Educate and sensitize the society

It is appalling that even today, we turn a blind eye to the adversities of hunger and food wastage around us. It is imperative to awaken the conscience of people and make them aware of their social responsibilities at an individual level.

– Kshitij Kumar

Ambition can do wonders!

During the course of our life, we come across a set of circumstances where we’re meant to establish a choice among several options at hand. Mostly, you have to lay one possibility at rest to help exist another irrespective of the cognitive crisis submitted to you. But sometimes, all the alternatives are identically essential and cannot be discarded at all. In such cases, you run into solutions until solutions themselves crash into you only because you seemed purposeful enough. One such instance has set up its home in Aakash’s life, a 12-year old diligent kid living off the rewards of his very own strong-mindedness.  

With his father being a fruits and vegetables seller and mother, a housemaid, the income of the household was not sufficient to educate him as well as supply him the basic necessities of survival, both at the same time. In a small amount of money that his parents drew from their lines of businesses, they could either send him to a school or let their child have the compulsory grub of the day. Since abandoning any of the two options wasn’t prudent, the parents began their search for remedies until they found a school in their city that dispensed mid-day meals to its students. After a thorough contemplation of the state, they decided to admit their child in it who was more than just contented to fill his time there.

A team of Feeding India volunteers visited the same school in person a few days ago to donate food for the kids. While strolling on the footways along the frontiers of the playground, a high-spirited boy caught my interest. He was so appealing that he did not call my name, but I took a fancy in learning his.

“Aakash.”, the boy told me his name.

“Which class are you in?” I replied.

In an almost faint voice, he said, “I study in second standard, Bhaiya. I joined school late.”

“Why?”, the curiosity in my heart uttered before the one in my mind could.

Aakash smiled at me and said, “Before coming here, I could either feed my hunger or my dreams… Bhaiya”

And dear readers, that is how I discovered the aforementioned tale of success over the need for food of a boy in his early youth. It is precisely for moments like these that we Hunger Heroes strive to empower underprivileged kids across the country by ensuring their basic necessities are met. When survival is taken care of, they get a fair chance to focus on realising their dreams.

– Kshitij Kumar