Cooking has provided important lessons for our post-closure lives, chefs say

People had no choice but to cook for themselves during the confinement. The good news was that exercising creativity and involving spouses and children in the kitchen helped avoid negativity. And choosing ingredients carefully and sparingly also provided important lessons in healthy eating, sustainability, and good practice. In Kochi times webinar on food experiments during the blockade, our panelists Sameera Nazimudin from the YouTube cooking channel Salu kitchen , TV presenter and celebrity chef Raj Kalesh culinary consultant Rajeev Menon and Sanaa A’esha who runs a healthy eating workshop for kids called Kidchen talks about practices that can continue.

Cooking made people happy: Sameera

Going forward, we are going to refer to our time as before and after the lockdown. I did things differently on my cookery show, showing not just recipes, but including the whole family in cooking challenges. It was a way to get people to feel happy. There was overwhelming feedback from families and we received a hugely positive response, with people saying we didn’t realise cooking could be so simple or the whole family could be involved.

It would be nice if people continued the trend of eating at home: Raj

I did live cooking shows with home and expert chefs, and simple cooking programmes for men to follow during this time. There was a fear around Covid-19 in people, but cooking seemed to lift their mood. Cooking, like gardening and crafts, was a star during this time. During this time, even children tried their hand at healthy dishes; my daughter made a really good cake with atta, rather than maida, and jaggery. It would be good if people can continue the trend of eating at home.

People started depending on local products: Rajeev

During the lockdown, people started depending increasingly on our local produce. At first, it was because we did not have many options. Pineapple from Vazhakulam, Ernakulam, was available during this time at about Rs 100 for 6 kg and it has more nutritional value than apples, which are imported and more expensive. Similarly, we can substitute potatoes with tapioca and yams. So, it is a good trend that works better for us, our farmers and the local economy, if we can continue with it.

What we learned about creating zero waste was being put into practice: Sanaa

We learnt to do much more with ingredients because the grocery run is precious and it is exciting for kids when we try to stretch the use of one ingredient, because it is like a science experiment with dehydration and fermenting to create different things. We tried about 50 recipes with the pineapple; apart from jams and juices, we made chips with the core, fermented the skin and made a drink and then made beauty products. So, what we have learnt about creating zero waste was being put into practice.