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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: The Carbonara Debacle, love-hate relationship with wildlife, and book reviews

Here's your reading list!

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
March 7, 2021 12:53:36 pm
global food, food authenticity, food memory, sunday eye, eye 2021, indianexpress,Even when culinary traditions are better documented, creative liberties will be taken. (Illustration: Bivash Barua)

Who moved my Pecorino?: The Carbonara Debacle and questions of food authenticity

Italy was in an uproar. Unpardonable liberties had been taken with the pasta carbonara, one of the most iconic preparations from the southern European nation. Authentic carbonara from Rome is made by tossing hot pasta (often spaghetti) in a sauce made with eggs and pecorino Romano cheese, along with freshly-ground black pepper and guanciale, the latter made by curing the jowl meat of pigs. But a sacrilegious recipe in The New York Times had substituted unremarkable bacon for the robustly-flavoured guanciale and used mildly sweet and nutty Parmesan, instead of the saltier and tangier pecorino. Worst of all, the writer of the recipe had used tomatoes, an unthinkable addition to a simple but delicious pasta preparation that even eschews garlic and parsley.

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Our love-hate relationship with wildlife and the mixed messages we send

What is wrong with us?

We cause one hell of a confusion (and scepticism) for children, young adults, and wildlife. We piously lecture youngsters that the environment and wildlife are sacrosanct and must be protected, that they shouldn’t waste electricity, that every drop of water is precious, not a tree must be cut, not a leaf picked, not an animal harmed. And, proudly, we show them some of the sterling laws we have made to protect our wildlife and environment, including the Schedule I list of protected species in our Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

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How medical infrastructure at the Rashtrapati Bhavan grew from a three-wheeler ambulance to a jumbo jet

If the early days saw viceroys attended to on elephant backs, over time, presidents have enhanced medical care for their staff and families.

When the British shifted the capital from Calcutta to New Delhi, it triggered a deep resentment in Bengal, which was then a hotbed of revolutionary insurrection against the Raj. In response, Viceroy Lord Charles Hardinge wanted to make a display of his resolve with a ceremonial procession to the iconic Red Fort, on December 23, 1912.

On their way to the Fort near Chandni Chowk, Lord and Lady Hardinge, sitting on a howdah atop an elephant, were deeply engrossed in appreciating the reception when a deafening sound shook them. “It is a bomb,” Lord Hardinge told a visibly shaken Lady Hardinge. Though he ordered the procession to move on, he soon realised that a splinter of the bomb had hit him while one of his attendants, Mahabir, had been blown to pieces.

Lady Hardinge immediately called for the doctor. The attending physician was trailing the procession on a separate elephant. He rushed to the viceroy and displayed unusual acrobatic abilities as he climbed atop the jumbo, which was quite disturbed by the sound and commotion. The viceroy had to be rushed to a full-fledged hospital given theseriousness of the injury.

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Why all the good we did ten years ago doesn’t matter at all

No lip service : There is a fine line between those with deep faith and those blinded by such faith

To pray is “to address god with adoration, confession, supplication or in thanksgiving”. To meditate is “to engage in contemplation or reflection”. To chant is “to recite something in a monotonous repetitive tone or to celebrate and praise in song”. These are dictionary meanings of the words “pray”, “meditate” and “chant”. Not my interpretation.

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Why ‘Method in the Madness’ packs insights from an insider-outsider-insider career

Parameswaran Iyer’s new book is a compilation of fascinating vignettes from the life of an unconventional civil servant.

The intriguingly titled book Method in Madness provides a fascinating account of Parameswaran Iyer’s interesting life and multiple careers spanning 40 years. The book starts with Iyer, a promising tennis player at the collegiate level in India returning from a one-year tennis scholarship in the US, during which he had the opportunity to train at the famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Iyer recounts with candour his successive attempts at a career as a professional tennis player, a hotelier and a newspaper correspondent — with varying degrees of success, before taking a shot at the IAS examination with scant preparation. He makes it to the IAS and is so excited on getting the news that he jumps with joy — only to hit his head against the low ceiling.

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Why ‘The Age of Pandemics’, by Chinmay Tumbe, deals with the missing historiography in India

In his effort to create such a historiography, Tumbe paints a wide canvas, almost breathless with information and anecdotes.

The oral history of my family describes our origins as being entangled in an epidemic. In the later part of the 19th century, there lived a man and his wife and son in Patna. He was a man of some means and held some land. One day, he rode out to a neighbouring town to attend a friend’s wedding. As was the custom, on his way out of town, he stopped at the family graveyard and said a du’a (prayer) for his ancestors. Two days later, as he rode back, he stopped again at the graveyard and noticed a fresh grave. It could only be someone from the family. It turned out that while he was away, cholera had struck and taken his young son. His wife blamed him for the death and refused to see him again.

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‘In India and Pakistan, the trolls are professional, their attacks personal and misogyny naked’: Moni Mohsin

Moni Mohsin on her new book and more. (Source: Moni Mohsin/Twitter)

IN The early 2000s, writer Moni Mohsin’s charming flibbertigibbet, Butterfly, had had a field day taking on the gaffes of high-society Pakistan, first in a column Mohsin wrote for The Friday Times, a weekly newspaper, and, later, as books. But, seven years after Butterfly’s last outing, Mohsin realised she needed a new heroine to articulate a very different story she wanted to tell. In this interview, Mohsin speaks of her new book, The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R, the nebulous confluence of politics and social media and the death of humour in the subcontinent.

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Why ‘Cups of Nun Chai’, by Alana Hunt, needs to be read in urgency to understand the narrative of jingoism

Cups of Nun Chai By Alana Hunt.

I’ve only really heard of Kashmir as a tourist destination. Isn’t there a lake with beautiful houseboats?” A friend asked Alana Hunt, the Australian author of Cups of Nun Chai.

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