Under my byline

Young blood?

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Living by Rrishi on 7 December 2008

JalebisFar too many young adults are victims of high cholesterol

“Well, I’d gone for an executive health checkup, and when they gave me the results, I was shocked…” That’s how most of these stories start, with a blithe customer unpleasantly surprised to discover that he or she has unhealthily high levels of cholesterol. It’s something typically associated with middle age, and by these people, with their parents, perhaps — because these customers are all young, still only in their 20s or early 30s. (more…)


Fast food for fine art

Posted in Architecture/Design, Art, Diet, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 7 September 2008

Artist Kanchan Chander takes a break from her studio for a bite of fish

“All artists are chai-wallahs,” says Kanchan Chander, putting a tray of nice kadak chai and biscuits down before us. She means tea as fuel for long stretches of work or conversation. Chander spends several hours during the quietest parts of the day labouring away in her semi-basement studio. She has a show coming up next year. It’s hardly what one would call a bohemian existence. (more…)

Beauty bites

Posted in Diet, Foodie, Health, Profiles by Rrishi on 31 August 2008

Simal Soin, the expert behind A+ Medispa, makes us something good-looking

She’s been out all day at work, and has only just arrived at home, so she has to divide her attention between her two young sons and us — and the sons are winning.


All you can’t eat

Posted in Books, Diet, Health, Q&A by Rrishi on 17 August 2008

What’s behind the food crisis, according to farmers’ rights campaigner Raj Patel

Stuffed & Starved: What Lies Behind the World Food Crisis
Raj Patel
xxii + 442

“All data is political,” says Raj Patel, researcher, writer and campaigner for farmers’ rights and against the global “food system”. He uses data to draw an hourglass-shaped figure — a simple graph which represents the inequality in the food industry, where large numbers of growers and eaters are separated by a tiny number of large corporations. In his book he tries to show how governments and trade agreements work in favour of the few rather than the many.


More than Mandarin

Posted in Diet by Rrishi on 3 August 2008

Food, for the vegetarian traveller in China, is a landscape to be negotiated with care

“I did not like it one bit,” says Archana Basu of the food she encountered during a recent business sojourn in China. A brands analyst for an American company, NuVista Strategies, she is a determined vegetarian and married into a Bengali family which is passionate about its food.


The rediscovery of food

Posted in Books, Diet, Health by Rrishi on 27 April 2008

Science and industry have ruined our diets, says Michael Pollan

In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating
Michael Pollan
xiv + 242

“Culture,” says Michael Pollan, “…is really just a fancy word for your mother.” He means food as culture, of course, and the descent of traditional foods to modern plates through the transmittal of knowledge from mother to daughter over millennia. (more…)

Jam and Kashmir

Posted in Diet, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 20 April 2008

Linnet Mushran, maker of the famous Bhuira jams, cooks us a delicate Kashmiri raan

Born in New Zealand and raised on a Somerset farm by English and German parents, married to a Kashmiri Pandit, sister in Switzerland and two children in teaching and film-acting, flourishing business in rural Himachal Pradesh… No, Linnet Mushran is neither globetrotter nor multi-national: she’s multi-local. (more…)

Onion leap for mankind

Posted in Diet, Health by Rrishi on 10 February 2008

Red onionsThe noble onion has an ancient pedigree, and deserves to be worshipped

Being human, we can’t help looking for meaning in everything around us. Even humble vegetables become symbols. The onion, however, is not a humble vegetable — it’s older than civilisation (the earliest evidence of cultivation is from 5,000-year-old Bronze Age settlements, but it must have been with us far longer). It is so aristocratic, in fact, that experts doubt there is any such thing as a “wild onion” left. (more…)

What Homer ate?

Posted in Diet, Health, Living by Rrishi on 16 December 2007

The Manufacture of Oil, J Amman, 16th centuryOil’s well in the Mediterranean diet

Walk through any urban marketplace patronised by the upper middle classes and you will be overwhelmed with pity — not for the beggars, of whom less and less is seen in our access-controlled environments, but for the well-heeled shoppers. They all look so ill cared-for, with their stooping and shuffling gait, their tubelight complexions, their unfit bodies, cellphone elbows, restless movements and shallow breathing. There’s no doubt about it — we are on the threshold of an illness revolution. (more…)

Light head, liquid shoulders

Posted in Diet, Living, Profiles by Rrishi on 24 November 2007

Krug chief Panos Sarantopoulos on how the Grande Cuvée comes into being

“I tell my son Romanos — he’s seven years old — to run every day, to develop his lungs, so that when he grows up he will be strong and healthy,” says Panos Sarantopoulos, president and CEO of Krug, the world-renowned champagne marque.

Sarantopoulos is a big man — physically big, well over six feet tall — and he looms up on the other side of the low table, which is loaded with rich tandoori foods and scattered with flutes of gently fizzing Krug Grande Cuvée champagne. (more…)

Ancient ketchup

Posted in Diet by Rrishi on 26 August 2007

14th-century illustration of fishermenThe Romans loved their fish sauce, and globalised it

Things that have fermented make some of the most appetising flavours on the modern table. Wine, beer, vinegar, bread, cheese, sauerkraut, achar, dahi, dosas and idlis all come from fermentation. Nice things (mostly) go into these foods. Would you, however, be quite as interested in garum, a fish sauce that the ancient Romans adored, and which was made of fermented fish entrails? (more…)

“I mix, entertain, host and teach”

Posted in Diet, Living, Q&A by Rrishi on 26 May 2007

Mixologist Sam Jeveons talks about the many sides of his profession

Award-winning British mixologists Sam Jeveons, Angus Winchester and Pete Kendall comprise Alconomics, a consultancy firm that provides quality bartender training and consultancy services. Sam Jeveons was in India recently as a judge for the Belvedere International Bartender Competition, hosted by Moët Hennessy. Thirty Indian bartenders competed to make the best cocktails, and three winners from Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi will go to Hong Kong and London for a taste of the world of international mixologists. We met Jeveons at Delhi’s Shangrila Hotel. (more…)