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Showing posts from September, 2011

From my kitchen and from my Bookshelf

Here is a picture of our breakfast two days ago - fresh tapioca from our backyard. No chemical fertilizers or pesticides were used to produce these tubers. What the heck, we did little other than paying for planting the tapioca cuttings! 10 months later, we are reaping the benefits! 

Did you know that tapioca was first introduced to Kerala by a Travancore king? Sri Visakhom Tirunal Rama Varma (ruled 1880-1885) brought the tuber to Kerala in an effort to alleviate the famines caused by frequent paddy crop failure. Paddy must be one of the most fragile of crops - the least drought or unseasonable rain spells its doom as we all know. So tapioca was a big boon to people at that time.
Which brings me to one of the books I am reading right now - I got this historical titbit from "The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple" written by Aswathi Tirunal Gowri Lakshmibai. I did not know that there was a such a book until some photographs from it began appearing in the newspapers in connection with …

Raising children in 1859

What do you do when you are waiting somewhere outside and forgot to bring a book to tide you over? Simple, read an e-book downloaded on your phone! Mind you, I don't buy e-books because I find old classics from Project Gutenberg and copy them in .txt format on to my phone. I occasionally download some books from the nonfiction category too - especially books about the domestic scenes of the times.
The current e-book I'm reading is Trials and Confessions of a Housekeeper by T. S. Arthur. It's a collection of essays pertaining to domestic matters in nineteenth century USA. After several interesting essays about horrible servants, bargain purchases, false economy and such, I came across one regarding the "sacred duties of motherhood". Most of the ideas in there would be dismissed as totally anti-feminist in the present-day world. There is some sound advice like being consistent in disciplining children, how to deal with the whining habit and how only practising what …