ON IN THE US AN INDIAN STORY Even in tough times life goes on. By A. K. Shyamala Shenoy

It was the time just before the US recession and the economy seemed to be booming. Many of my husband’s friends had started their own start-up operations and were doing very well. Our Saturday-night get-together discussions were centred on success stories starting from Sabir Bhatia’s Hotmail. We had enough savings and my husband decided to start a new software firm. We also decided to shift to a more spacious villa in the suburbs from the apartment we had in the city. From
the contacts he developed in his earlier employment, my husband got a few contracts and we seemed to be on the right track.

Then the downturn happened. First the real-estate prices nosedived. The property we purchased was worth only half the value we paid for it just six months earlier. We had taken a loan to purchase the property and we had to pay the installments at the original value of the property.
Our software firm was based in India and we had remitted most of the revenues to India. The dollar rate was hovering at Rs 38 and most of




the conversion took place at th a” We watched helplessly as recession deepened and sp-aa: Asian countries and the dol a- steadily climbed and even Rs 50.

Emotionally, we were ill-ec_ : to take on the vagaries o‘ business after being use: cushioned, well-paying jobs »- risk-taking is minimal. We middle-aged when our childre- born and it was difficult get: rc to looking after two kids in s. short span of time. Did we nee: more misfortune? My hus: = grandfather who was the pil =’ : strength passed away in Inc a a grand old age of 95.

How are we coping? Life is a teacher. Our dreams are sha- but we have learnt to take r -: our stride. We have enough -: by, a supporting family in \-z a friends here in the US who a i by us through thick at Recently, I was invited to ao: a: prestigious international con.a- on humanity in Europe. My and I are looking forward :: have decided to take a smal while attending the conve” :_ they say, life goes on


How is it that tea is healthy for the Chinese and they can drink enormous quantities while when we drink a lot of tea, we get acidity and heartburn?

It is true that tea is rich in anti­oxidants, helps fight cardiovascular diseases, reduces bad cholesterol, and keeps us young.

Overall, tea is good for our health, but the way we drink it in India – i.e. when it is processed too much, or has milk added to it – it loses its benefits. So, to get the best from tea, we should drink it the way the Chinese do.

What is vegetable stock and how can we make it at home?

In one litre of water, add a small quantity of all the vegetables avail­able at home together with an onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, a small piece of ginger, a bay leaf and a few pepper­corns. Allow to boil in a heavy- bottomed pan till the water reduces to half the quantity. Cool and strain through a muslin cloth or a very fine sieve. This vegetable stock can be used in various gravies.

It is a most common question from all the health-conscious people these days: which is the healthiest fat?

The most important thing to remember is that we need a variety

of oils in our diet. Therefore, we must consider a rotation of oil types. This is because each oil/fat has some unique essential fatty acids. When we include a variety of oils in our diet we have a better chance of incorpor­ating the health benefits of a range of fatty acids.

We have heard that soya bean is very good for us. Kindly let us know the advantages and disadvantages if taken in excess.

It is true that soya is a very good source of proteins for us, especially for vegetarians. It is good for the heart and also brings relief to post­menopausal women.

But people will have a problem if they have soya in excess. Too much can cause hormonal imbalance which can even result in reduced hair growth. It can also lead to digestion problems. Soya beans have a high level of phytic acid more than any other legume.

Phytic acid may block the absorption of certain minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. So anything taken in moderation, however beneficial, is good and even a little in excess can cause problems for us.

What do the following terms related to ‘chocolates’ mean? Conching, chocolate liquor, cacao, cocoa butter and confectionery coating.

Conching means rolling or stirring chocolate to smooth out the particles during manufacture. Chocolate liquor is the thick, non-alcoholic liquid made

from grinding the nibs inside cacao beans.

Cacao is the tropical tree a*: bean it produces. Cocoa burre- = fat extracted when cacao bee: processed into chocolate tionery coating is made • vegetable fat, sugar, milk so c: flavourings. It’s used as a substitute, but isn’t chocolate

Chocolate burns easily, so wh® be the best procedure to me* t* Yes, chocolate burns eas must be melted with care chocolate is melted in a douc a over hot or barely simmering Nowadays, it can also be me ‘a: microwave.

Do let us know a few dos and 3 while baking a cake.

The cake batter shoulc r ‘sheet consistency’ – i.e. on into the cake tin a ribbon shea’ should form. Do not fill the ca more than half, as space is re for the cake to rise.

Do not open the door of tre in between as the tempera:. • fall and this will prevent the ca- a rising properly.

Do preheat the oven •: minutes before putting in the ca* –

Do not open the oven im as the cake will sink due : sudden change in temperature the draft of air enters.

Do not try to remove the when hot, otherwise the ca*e break.

– Savita Bha


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