THE HEALTHY OPTION: Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. It has a mildly sour taste compared to regular bread that is made using store bought yeast that reacts with gluten to make the dough rise
BY TARA NARAYAN
YOU know I’m very fussy about my bread, as in baked bread, and I don’t buy the sliced white loaves of the industrial marketplace any more. Bread is refined carbs and since we Indians are these days constantly being accused of eating too much refined carbs and refined everything else… I quit eating bread a long time ago, although occasionally I will buy Vandana Naik’s multigrain or sourdough bread loaf at her Café Al Fresco up at Sunaparanta at Panaji’s Altinho (where I go looking for trees for sustenance when I get real cheesed off in the shallows of downtown Panaji!).
These days in search of better health parameters, the learned amongst consumers distinguish between inflammatory food and anti-inflammatory food, high glycemic and low glycemic food, refined food and fiber rich food… industrial food or home-made from scratch food, farm to factory to wholesaler to retailer food or farm to table food… the greater the distances food travels, the more cautious we have to be about eating them, generally speaking!
Life is getting shorter and I don’t know why I’m caught up in all this but I am. Food is one of life’s passions and my very rich friend who stays half way up the Altinho often tells me that most women eat and overeat just because they are pining for some good sex! Food as substitute for sex, like that. Well, think about that. Has sex as good as disappeared from long time married peoples’ lives and as a consequence we’re growing fat, obese… sublimating sex with foodie binges? Somebody do a survey.
I don’t know why I entertain this obscenely rich friend of mine (a widow who’s inherited all her husband’s wealth, no children), I mean she never bails me out if I’m in spot of trouble, she’s that kind of a friend, but I’ve some affection for her and lend her my ears for moon mooning because sometimes it offers some food for thought. Funny, this time around I listened to her seriously and found myself telling her I’m not bothered about physical sex, that’s easy; it’s what men do to a women’s mind that bothers me!
Well, this is a foodie column and a fatso woman’s confessions in a matter of sorts if you get what I mean. There must be some truth to the observation that women (and men too presumably) find it easier to find food for body beautiful than sex for the soul. But let me get back to the bread of life. If you’re asking me, for me the bread of life is our unleavened Indian flat breads or bhakri/roti of ragi, nachni, bajra, rice, gramflour, or any other wholegrain…next come the Western-styled baked breads but only if they’re original breads and not industrial versions. It’s only because nobody’s marketing India’s flatbreads that one is constantly in urban situations constantly falling back on white or colored brown industrial breads.
Like I said I look for better wholesome quality and I’ve discovered a new place to go get a decent loaf of bread. Do check out Vandana’s sourdough beetroot loaf…there’s something magical about sourdough bread, way expensive of course, but worth it, and one may be happy relishing a slice or two at time. By all means butter with Amul butter or home-made white sweet butter if you feel like it! I also like to top with thin slices of fresh cottage cheese or paneer if I can’t find real good natural cheddar…the multi-grain loaf is also superb. Check out Vandana Naik’s variety of sourdough breads at her Café Al Fresco at Sunaparanta.
I’D gone up to Altinho to see if I could find any good apples or Goa’s gauti lemons at the Goa State Horticultural Corporation outlet here. Afterwards wandered around the complex, quite an unmaintained building but on the first floor discovered a restaurant of old (dates back to 1944, the owner here told me). A group of students from the art college nearby were celebrating something with samosa and “buns” (the bread from Karnataka) and I was tempted to order a samosa too… but a bit of grit grated under my teeth and I chucked it. Walking out I couldn’t miss all the filth, stray dogs and wondered why all the fine folk of Altinho couldn’t get together to clean up the litter-ridden corners of such a wonderful Altinho! Especially areas around the Altinho garden park here where I sometimes like to take a few rounds to calm down looking at the trees.
WHICH reminds me to note here that while returning from Sunaparanta, I noticed that the CMM Polyclinic’s old canteen space is now taken over by Meraki, courtesy Anisha Freitas. She seems to have waved a magic wand and here’s a warm, cosy retreat, with many temptations to offer from all-day breakfasts to a menu of soups, main meals and confectionary…how about cajun spiced chicken or spicy pork stuffed with cabbage or grilled beef with chimichurri?
Another day try the spaghetti and meatball or seafood skewers with sweet pepper relish… fish cakes with aoili get over fast as does eggplant parmigiana. Little egg tarts, custard tarts, quiches, crème brulee, oatmeal cookies, etcetera. Lacy curtains, blue walls splashed with gold razzmatazz…what’s not to like, very pretty. I picked up an apple pie (Rs 80) to take home and said I’ll return for fish cakes another day.
OMEGA-3 fatty fish is what kept our primal ancestors alive, you must know. Apart from a lot of other good things do you know that it is the omega-3 fats which protect our eyes? Not all fish (and definitely not contaminated fish) but fish from wild water sanctuaries offer DHA (that is docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is what keeps our eyes alive and kicking in wellbeing. Eat more fish, my dears, that is if you can find real fish…(sigh)…at the rate at which our civilization is making short work of our natural resources of air, earth and water, all mother earth’s marine life (some of our vital primary food) is struggling for survival. That’s not good, not good at all – for us.
To hell with us, hell’s bells are ringing. Read Naomi Whittel’s book “Glow 15” if you can get a copy of it, it’s all about how ageing is inevitable but growing old is not.