Richest Person on Each Continent

  1. Jeff Bezos: $92.6 billion, technology, North America
  2. Jorge Paulo Leman: $30.8 billion, Food and beverage, South America
  3. Amancio Ortega: $77.8 billion, fashion,real estate, investment… Europe
  4. Aliko Dangote: $13.7 billion, cement, sugar, flour,salt,. … Africa
  5. Mukesh Ambani: $41.9 billion, Oil & Gas, Asia
  6. Gina Rinehart, $16.6 billion, Mining, Oceania

Rare Foods Series : Reed Salt

Can we imagine any food without salt? In addition to the taste it adds, Salt is an essential nutrient for the human body. It is an electrolyte which helps the transmission of the messages from different parts of the body to the brain and vice versa. It is present in the cells. Any imbalance in its concentration whether in the form of deficiency or excess can play havoc with our body. When dehydration occurs, the salt has to be replenished by the intake of oral rehydration solution. It is lost from our bodies during perspiration and blood becomes thicker and our bodies require water.

In addition salt is used as preservative for pickles and other foods. It acts as a barrier to the bacteria which attack the food and decompose it.

Salt comes from the evaporation of the seawater collected in the salt pans. After water evaporates the salt is left behind which is then made to undergo the processes of purification. Those who live in the urban areas and especially near sea coasts never feel it’s importance.

But still there are people living in the remote areas where access to this commodity is impossible. Some of such communities live in Kenya. These tribes, as the saying goes : “Necessity is the mother of invention ” has developed a way to compensate this by extracting the salts from the REED STALKS.

Method

Bunches of river reed are cut into smaller pieces and dried on the hot stones for about a period of 3 days to reduce the inherent moisture. Then the stalks are put on very slow fire. When organic ingredients burn, the ash is left behind. Ash is collected and boiled with water and filtered to get pure salts dissolved in the filtrate while impurities are left behind.

The filtrate is then boiled till only the salt is left behind. Sometimes they add a pinch of pepper powder to add flavor to it.

IMG_8187

This picture has been taken from the beautiful website from Luke Duggleby an ace photographer. URL to his website is given below.

http://www.lukeduggleby.com/

(if the picture is not for free use, I will delete it)

Punjab Village during winters

Punjab is called the bread basket of India. A state in Northern Indian plains formed and irrigated by five perennial rivers originating from Himalayas. The land surface is deposited by the alluvial brought up by the rivers. The land is flat, devoid of any geographical features. Standing out in the open in a field you can feel the unending flatness meeting the horizon.

The farmers of the area are known for their hard working nature. Earlier the farming was largely non- mechanized. Bullocks and manual labor was used. Slowly to keep with the times machines like tractors, tubewells and other implements were introduced making the work faster and less manual.

There is hardly anytime of the year when any piece of land is fallow. One after the other crops are grown depleting the natural fertility of soil and making the water usage very high. Insecticides and fertilizers are required in high quantities to make up for loss of natural fertility. The crops have been diversified to vegetables and flowers in addition to the common rice, and wheat.    These are cash crops/

But still the scene in the countryside are beautiful in the winter. There is wheat growing, mustard flowers color the country yellow and tractors filled with cauliflower, carrots, Kinno, radishes and peas are frequently seen.

Let us see some pictures.

Junk Foods Technology

“Our limbic brains love sugar, fat, salt.… So formulate products to deliver these. Perhaps add low cost ingredients to boost profit margins. Then “super size” to sell more.… And advertise/promote to lock in “heavy users.”” —Bob Drane, former vice president for new business strategy and development at Oscar Mayer.

From this statement, it is clear that foods containing Sugar, Fat and Salt appeal most to the human brain. Armed with this knowledge, the fast food companies design feel good foods and hook so many of us, particularly, the younger generation. It is the right combination of these that is important. The malaise of obesity is the result of those extra pounds generally come from the over consumption of soft drinks, snack foods, and fast foods.

Of course, the food companies do not want their customers obese because in that case they may start avoiding the fast food. But they want the “stomach share” in the food market. But processed-food companies increasingly turn to their legions of scientists to produce foods that we can’t resist. These food geeks tweak their products by varying the levels of the three so-called pillar ingredients—salt, sugar, and fat.

It turns out that although we generally do like such food more but after a certain intake, we like to take less. That optimum amount of salt, sugar, or fat is called the “Bliss Point”. Scientists also adjust these ingredients as well as factors such as crunchiness to produce a mouth feel—that is, the way the food feels inside a person’s mouth—that causes consumers to crave more. Technologists can also induce a flavor burst by altering the size and shape of the salt crystals themselves so that they basically assault the taste buds into submission.

The formula of successful junk-food science is the vanishing calorific density. Such food melts in your mouth so quickly that the brain is fooled into thinking it’s hardly consuming any calories at all, so it just keeps snacking. In the process, packaged-food scientists want to avoid triggering sensory-specific satiety, the brain mechanism that tells you to stop eating when it has become overwhelmed by big, bold flavors. Instead, the real goals are either passive overeating, which is the excessive eating of foods that are high in fat because the human body is slow to recognize the caloric content of rich foods, or auto-eating: that is, eating without thinking or without even being hungry. (The opposite problem is being overhungry, where you’re so ravenous that you’ll basically eat anything that’s put in front of you.) Either way, if you end up with a food baby, a distended stomach caused by excessive overeating, you’ve made a fast-food executive somewhere very happy.

All this is explored by Pulitzer award winning Journalist Michael Moss in his book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Companies Hooked Us”

Observing the Nature

How often do we leisurely watch the nature around us? General answer will be not often. Do we sit out in the evening and watch the sun going down, its glow becoming golden, and shadows lengthening and blinking through the chinks in the trees? Do we watch the groups of birds flying towards their homes after spending their day in a far off place where the food is available to forage? Why, in the first place, they don’t make their resting places near the food. May be the supply is not available at one place throughout the year and their resting places are at optimum distance from the foraging places. Why do they always fly in the groups? Is not their pressure or competition for food? Is the father of Evolution theory listening?

After reeling under the sweltering heat for many days, if there is rain, it is like a fresh breath of life. The parched land is drenched with water pushing out the air filled with earth’s aromas into the atmosphere and filling our nostrils with ecstasy. The accompanying wind rushes into the branches which sway from side to side at the top such as in the mighty silver oak trees. One wonders how the topmost leaves are receiving their requirement of water and nutrients. In optimistic hope of supply from the soil, additionally they must be conserving the water by reducing their stomata counts, As they are in the top, they have the benefit of plenty of sunlight. I also wonder if the leaves at the top are in any sort of communication with those at the lower branches.

Rain patters on the tins of roofs. Water begins to flow over the soil surface seeking places which are at lower level to become pooled there. The dust on the leaves which was choking the plants breath is washed up and translucency returns. Sometimes after the rain, sun comes out and everything shines resplendently. The weather becomes bearable.

Ad Makers thrive on ignorance of Public

In many ads about germicides, it is claimed that so and so soap kills 99.9% bacteria. This means that if there were 100000 of these microscopic beings, after treatment 99900 will be killed but still 100 will stay alive. One thing they don’t tell is that bacteria growth is exponential and within no time they will multiply again.  As the number of surviving bacteria will be less and amount of food is same as before, their proliferation rate is very high and they will grow within no time to large numbers. Only limiting factor against their growth is the starvation when the food is exhausted. Don’t be fooled that they die when the food is exhausted. No, they become dormant and wait for the food to become available again and again they revive.

The fact is we are born with “conditions apply’ tags and we are bound to play host to millions of bacteria who live inside and outer skin of our bodies. Many of these are beneficial to us.

What the bacteria lack is size they amply make up in sheer numbers.They live everywhere and there is no escape from them except immunity levels which are different from person to person and also with age.

Lack of knowledge of general people is used by the manufactures to fool them.

Ants in Assam

Past few days, a great proliferation in the numbers and variety of ants could be seen here. Small ants, black and brown ants. They have made holes in the walls, throwing away their residue of black hue out of the walls. Thousands of them can be seen moving to and fro. They are everywhere: on the walls, clothes, bedsheets. Once an ant went inside my eye. It the lid of any container is even slightly loose, the ants waste no time for going inside. They seem to be on some suicide mission. They drown in the milk, they move gas stoves and get killed or burned. The menace has become too much to handle.

They are moving in twin directions on a designated path marked by them. The ants moving is opposite directions seem momentarily to kiss each other as if conveying some secret about the food. After this they continue their journey.

Even on the road you can see the trodden path patterns made by the ants army while crossing the road from one side to another. The sheer number of these ants is so high that their path resembles a thick rope spread across the road. They can be seen walking everywhere: kitchen, beds, on human bodies, walls, bathrooms. If you are too sensitive type, you shall become frustrated.