Stories about food

Cooking up a storm with Masterchef Pakistan

An idea struck me while watching this week’s episodes of Masterchef Pakistan. The arrival of the Masterchef franchise to a country doesn’t necessarily reflect the inherent love for food in that society, but rather it is an example of a country’s television-cooking industrial complex reaching a certain level of sophistication. Masterchef requires celebrity chefs and a television audience used to cooking shows. While the country’s media is still popularly associated with talk shows and famous anchors, cooking shows have quietly established themselves as mainstays of Pakistani TV, offering competition to both news and general entertainment. When Chef Shae walked in as ...

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Birth, confusing and perplexing, birth

The August night was frightening, confusing, perplexing. Hot, humid and sweaty… The room was pleasant, comfortable, properly lit and professionally decorated in muted, soothing hues of beige, gold and taupe. Tapestries artfully draped, artefacts tastefully displayed; everything oozed style and grace. The effortless elegance and oomph of old money inherited through generations, mere mortals can only think, or write about. A room, about to witness the first birth… The loudest, metropolitan city of the land of the pure was in complete darkness, thanks to power outage. Energy crisis was at its peak and on that particular night, the shortfall in electricity production was more than many thousand mega-watts. She whimpered in pain ...

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Is the food we eat killing us?

The current National Nutrition Survey data is an eye opener for the Pakistani population. A healthy population is phenomenal towards building a strong nation and unfortunately we are one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. The numbers in this video are alarming. Besides the community outreach program and the mass level healthy eating campaign, it is time for each one of us to rethink our food choices. We have to bring about changes and shifts in our food intake and the food we cook and fill up our plates with. These little changes can trigger positive outcomes for the whole nation. Here is ...

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5 ‘healthy’ foods that prevent your weight loss

Let me guess what you do the minute someone tells you that you look like you’ve gained a couple of pounds. You either go on a crash diet to the point of starving yourself; you hit the pool, the track and the gym; or you turn into a crazy calorie-counting freak, checking every little morsel of food to see how many calories it contains. Of course, there is always a chance that you approach your weight-loss project rationally and try to eat only healthy foods and exercise regularly. However, be warned that some so-called healthy foods may actually prevent your ...

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In Bhakkar, breakfast is Tiffany

People eat strange things. In Southeast Asia, insects are a delicacy and in East Asia, the same goes for dogs. Pig meat, a major source of protein in the diets of many peoples, are taboo for Muslims and Jews. The same applies to the noble cow for Hindus. The reasons for these differences are manifold. So before we get ahead of ourselves, it is important to agree that ‘food’ is not an easily defined word. In Bhakkar, two brothers were arrested for desecrating a grave. While saddening, it is not really the worst of crimes. But that is only because under Pakistani ...

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Five easy solutions to all your digestive system problems

Nowadays, digestive disorders and stomach problems are as common as a cold or flu. Crohn’s disease, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are a few of the stomach and digestive diseases that have been on the rise recently. These problems can be extremely discomforting and the astonishing fact is that many people often overlook the most fundamental solutions while trying to tackle these issues. To put an end to this misery, I will be providing five solutions to a much healthier digestive system, which will help you lead a constraint-free life. Chew properly Remember, there are two types of digestion – mechanical and chemical. The mechanical digestion starts from ...

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Sunday mornings with aloo ke parathay and chai!

Savoury aloo walay parathay and hot, sweet, milky tea have an unbreakable connection to winter in my head. The reason could be growing up in Pakistan; that’s how it used to be in our house. Waking up late on Sunday morning meant it was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch.  But the rumbling tummy could not be ignored. And so, chilly, winter Sunday mornings called for potato-stuffed buttered parathas for brunch served with shami kebabs or Pakistani style spicy omelettes. In my mother’s household all parathas were prepared either with home-churned white butter or with homemade desi ghee (clarified butter). As a little girl I remember watching my nani (maternal grandmother) ...

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Valentine’s Day is about family, love and chocolate truffles!

It is natural that things that seem important to us in our teens do not really appeal to us as much two decades later. That’s the case with me and Valentine’s Day. Back in the day, hormones were raging, but now you find yourself raging at your own teen kids. Our parents seemed to do everything wrong and now you try your level best, just as your parents once did, to convince your child that you are right. In those days, going out alone with friends was an absolute must and now it’s an absolute security risk. Back then, Valentine’s Day ...

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Karachi Burns Road: The Holy Grail for foodies

The waiter picked up my Naan. He saw my quizzical expression and said, “It’s not hot anymore. I am getting you a fresh one.” Then he comes back and asks in a solicitous whisper if I am enjoying myself. With such courtliness, how could I not? This Michelin star service was not at an exorbitantly priced restaurant. No, the setting of this delightful exchange was Waheed Nihari at Karachi’s Burns Road a.k.a. food paradise. Ernest Hemingway called Paris a moveable feast – in the same vein, Karachi is an immovable feast and Burns Road the location. The food capital of Pakistan is reputed to be Lahore. I beg to differ. Lahore ...

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Named and shamed in Utah: How can you deny food to elementary school students?

Imagine this scenario. You are in high school, perhaps 11-years-old and you walk in to the cafeteria with a group of friends. You line up at the food counter, wait your turn anxiously because you have been working hard during lessons and are absolutely famished. Your turn is next. “Do I get the pizza or the burger?” You can’t decide because they both look so good and you are truly very hungry. You flip a coin mentally and decide to go with the pizza. As you proceed down the line with your tray and pizza, you see something rather odd happening in front ...

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