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Old 27th January 2022, 23:08   #31
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Default Re: Why fresh home food rocks & stale outside food sucks

My regular weekly shopping.

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I am a home food guy. I personally prefer eating curd rice with potato fry made at home instead of a 5* buffet spread.

There are so many advantages in home food. Every ingredient used is top notch. The amount of oil, sugar and salt is completely under our control. Everything is cleaned and prepared correctly. A huge variety in options.

The chance to experiment. With so many recipes on youtube etc, you can have so much fun.

Can involve kids in "food training". Teach them healthy options and prepare them for an independent life as they grow older.

The other significant part. Cost.

A meal at a fine dine restaurant easily costs the same as the vegetable bill for an entire month.
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Old 27th January 2022, 23:25   #32
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Obesity is the new Pandemic as said by family Doctor.
Whatever we eat as long as it is less than 500 calories per seating we should be able to lead a decent life.

Bit of workout or physical activity, Only Breakfast, lunch and 7 Pm dinner each less than 500 calorie should do.

Any more than 500c, you can think as you are eating poison - Again his words and he asked me to spread the news about New pandemic.
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Old 27th January 2022, 23:43   #33
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The biggest problem with outside food is lack of transparency around what goes in the mix. Time and again, research has shown that even the things that are supposed to be healthy are adulterated by companies for profits. Most restaurants are no different and they would choose profits over serving healthy food. That is the single biggest reason to minimise sourcing from outside.

I have been a big foodie all my life. Binging on outside food, processed food, beverages and confectionaries was the norm. Have been able to kick the habit down my almost 90% over last one year. One of the biggest reasons has been our cook. She is great with North Indian food and this makes sure that most needs are taken care of. Work from home helps as well. Speaking from experience of having multiple cooks for the last ten years of my life, clearly the quality of the cook has a serious impact on how much do you end up ordering from outside.

As to affordability, it’s all about priorities in life (I speak for the humble middle class). Quality of food and water are two things you really can’t afford to compromise on. 70% of diseases have their source in gut health. There is a reason ‘Food’ comes first in - Roti, Kapda, Makaan. So buy a cheaper phone/laptop/car if needed but avoid compromising on food.
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Old 28th January 2022, 00:18   #34
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At my place other than frozen peas we avoid frozen food as much as possible. We do make some exceptions, like when the kids demand french fries, etc.

What we also do is eat as much as possible seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and veggies meant to be eaten in a particular season taste great in that season - sarson ka saag is available throughout the year in some restaurants, but it taste great only in winters.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
At my place, we don't even have morning food in the evening.
Should definitely try the Hyderabadi bagara baingan, mirchi ka salan the next day, it tastes much better than the day it was prepared!
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Old 28th January 2022, 01:14   #35
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For most folks with sedentary office work, has anyone tried eating 1-2 meals a day instead of 3-4 accompanied by multiple cuppas of tea/ coffee?

Have realised we need much less food than we eat and hunger pangs are something that can be trained to reduce (without adverse effects like acidity, headache etc.).

Had an overweight friend who gradually came down from his 100kg frame to around 70 (under guidance). Over a period of year and a half, he has gone to a meal a day. His job involves flying so eating schedules/ sleeping schedules are erratic and yet he manages fine.

Have my own story as well of easily being able to eat less meals a day without headaches, acidity or any such issues.

How does all this fit in this thread instead of a dieting thread - because cooking one fresh meal a day is easy to do and saves immense amount of time and effort.

Eat less, feel lighter and there will be a whole load of less shit in the world, literal and otherwise.

Last edited by One : 28th January 2022 at 01:16.
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Old 28th January 2022, 01:56   #36
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Just a word of caution. A lot of 'fresh' vegetables bought in India are grown in water that could be toxic. Over the years, stuff like cadmium, lead, mercury builds up. This is often sold to consumer by unsuspecting thelawalas and local vegetable markets. The poor farmer, often uneducated, who is growing this is most likely to be unaware that toxic metals and compounds have leached into his groundwater or running water supply. I worked on some data with a major water purification company and this was one of their key learnings over 20 years in India.

It turns out that buying Safal frozen peas or whatever is actually far healthier in the long run than eating 'fresh'. Flash freezing has been proven to have its own benefits - this is easily researchable scientific fact. If you can grow your own vegetables and regularly test your soil and water quality, then nothing like it.

There is a sharp distinction between outside food and stale food. I eat at places I trust - hello KFC! - and in all my years of gluttony, I have fallen ill from bad food exactly once, in a three star hotel in Rajasthan, from a meal that laid waste to 4 people in my family. I'm reasonably healthy, though I could be fitter (thank you ice cream), and I actively plan my days and holidays around culinary experiences. I would quite likely die of a broken heart (stomach?) if I didn't eat out a lot, and try new places and cuisines with alarming regularity.

Also, to cook at home everyday, cooking is only half the battle. You must also plan the menu, figure out what needs to be bought to do it, and execute on all this. This is nearly a full time job - it's like running a very small restaurant - especially if you like varied cuisine. I did this quite cheerfully for the better part of a decade when I had a relaxed job - now that's impossible. I'll wager that anyone who is privileged to eat solely at home has a support system - joint family, spouse, housekeeper extraordinaire - that enables this.

Last edited by v1p3r : 28th January 2022 at 02:00.
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Old 28th January 2022, 02:03   #37
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Default Re: Why fresh home food rocks & stale outside food sucks

I prefer home cooked food when its non-Veg.
Dishes like fish curry and mutton curry get better with time. However its different to buy the same named dish outside and eat. For one we dont know how old the fish was and if it was properly cleaned, marinated etx. But at home, fish curry can be kept for upto 2-3 days and then eaten. Cook, eat, freeze the rest , take a portion of it next day, reheat and consume.
But, when i have tried the same with outside food i have been impacted with stomach problems.

For vegetarian, i find that certain restaurants are good while certain arent really what they claim to be. A2B, ayyaar bhavan, PS4 (perambus srinivas ..) restaurants all have given me stomach issues.
Hence i will never freeze foods from such restaurants. Its usually eat what you can and throw the rest or feed it to the stray dogs.

Also i noticed anything with coconut even if its only an hour old would sometimes go bad quickly in chennai but not in other places. Probably the humidity, temperature and pollution.
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Old 28th January 2022, 08:39   #38
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A few clinically proven facts from some one(100% vegetarian) who had a recent diabetes scare.

The safe quantity of rice per serving for some one above 40 with sedentary life style is one cup.ie around 250G. When it come to rotiis, it is 2-3. Imagine how much rice Indians eat at their homes. In restaurants, the portions are controlled at least from a cost perspective. Not talking about buffets or unlimited meals here.

Most white foods including rice, white bread, sugar are unhealthy if not eaten in moderation

Potatoes in some form can spike your blood sugar faster than direct intake of sugar/glucose.

One of the most unhealthy food is fruit juices with added sugar. This can lead to instant spike of sugar. Avoid them at any cost.

Always have food on time. Body does not like surprises.

Portion control is a key to your healthy lifestyle. Some people overeat at home thinking that it is healthy to do so. So keep a watch on what you eat and when you eat, not where.

Last edited by poloman : 28th January 2022 at 08:44.
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Old 28th January 2022, 09:38   #39
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I had bought some tomato during the recent price soar. While I put the shopping bag on the wall hook, I had forgotten one tomato in the bag and noticed it only when I took out the bag 2 months later. Voila ! The 'forgotten' tomato was as fresh and shiny as ever. Which means what you think as fresh need not be really fresh, but bathed so much in chemicals that even the devil wouldn't touch it.
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Old 28th January 2022, 10:22   #40
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Originally Posted by subraiyr View Post
Been there and done that. I will disagree with the frozen/canned food options available. And I don't think it is time-consuming to do some of this. Plucking methi leaves can be so therapeutic once you try it in earnest !!!. Having said that fresh food tastes different. For e.g. I took a bunch of coriander from the frozen section and chopped it. The smell it produced was nothing like what you would get from freshly plucked or even freshly sourced coriander leaves. Somehow the freshness is in the smell, the texture, and the taste.

One of the things we do is to find a middle ground. This means cooking at home and storing it for a brief amount of time. A case in point is dal. Eating both North and South Indian food, dal is a staple at home and we store the excess dal to be used in Sambar or Dal tadka the next day. But anything beyond the 24 to 28-hour mark is not used.

Someone talked about dosa batter being kept in refrigerators for longer periods and that is not good. Dosa batter becomes dosa ready only after a couple of days when deep fermentation sets in and it get a taste of sourness. And it becomes uthappam after another couple of days of staying in the fridge. So some of our home-cooked foods are cold-processed for some days. But fresh is fresh

All forms of processed foods are summarily banned in our house. If we want potato wedges we make them from freshly sourced potatoes. In fact, our vegetable purchases are nearly on a daily basis. Of course, it helps that there is a big market about 100 mts away from our house. Bon Appetit
I agree with you on some points. If you were to make a subzi, you would prefer fresh carrots vs. frozen ones. There were times we also purchased fresh spinach like for salads or even for cooking as it was a novelty where we assumed fresh was better. However, it is ok once in a while. When you have to spend hours plucking those methi leaves or cleaning the sand and chopping the spinach, it gets tiring pretty quickly. We used to buy frozen packaged methi for $1. This includes the cost of shipping, profit by various layers of merchants and the profit for the supermarket. It was exported from India. If they could sell it here for half the price at say Rs. 30 to 40 per kg then it would be wonderful. I would happily purchase a few packs and use as needed. Having quick but healthy options encourages you to cook something at home. In India we do keep things like pickles and chutneys for months. We don’t feel disgusted eating an 8 month old pickle because we are used to it. So when science tells us that it is ok to use a frozen vacuum sealed pack of spinach after a month, why do we refuse to believe it? We need to modernise to make India more efficient. Wasting 2 to 3 hours per meal is not needed.

Having said this, I would definitely agree with you that fresh food would taste a little better. However it isn’t worthwhile to hassle with it everyday. It is ok as an occasional delicacy. Chopping a little corrainder is one thing. Chopping kilos of spinach or methi is another. What we need is a combination of options where we can use packaged and frozen items when needed and fresh ones at other times. I am not advocating that everything should be frozen. No one uses frozen onions or corrainder as an example. However certain things that require a lot of work can be made available frozen or canned. This would also reduce the wastage from spoilt food and create a lot of employment while freeing half of India from toiling hours in the kitchen. For instance, in North India we love cooking saag (a mix of mustard greens, spinach, methi etc). It takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. We make it at home sometimes. In the villages they cook it for over 12 hours. In the cities it is around 6 hours. At home we try to wrap it up in 2 to 3 hours. Now obviously the village one tastes better than the city one and the one we make in 3 hours is almost as good but not fully like the one our relatives cook in 6 hours. Now we have found cans available online for around Rs80. It is great. Yes, the taste is slightly inferior but still super good and it allows us to eat a healthy green vegetable year round in minutes. So now we make it ourselves once a month while eating the ready made one at least once a week. Otherwise people would argue against pressure cooker as well with a claim that beans, daal or saag made in it don’t taste as good. It might be true but we accept that as it saves us a lot of time.

Last edited by Lobogris : 28th January 2022 at 10:26.
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Old 28th January 2022, 10:53   #41
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Default Re: Why fresh home food rocks & stale outside food sucks

One more aspect, debatable maybe, but I follow. Apart from pink salt & tea, I try not to have any packaged food, I avoid it.

If I have to eat out in a restaurant, it is mostly grilled non-veg / kebabs or eggs. Out on the road, I prefer dal tadka, 1 roti & omelet, the fast moving items which finish before going stale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I still believe that fresh is fresh. If there were two plates in front of you = same dish, same price, same taste. One is just cooked from fresh ingredients, the other frozen...what would you choose?
This sums up .
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Old 28th January 2022, 11:01   #42
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While fresh is generally better, there is nothing wrong with flash frozen veggies and meat. What I have an issue with is canned food and synthetic preservatives, flavoring agents, additives and food coloring. I don't think canned food is really all that safe because that epoxy coating they put inside cans does leach into the food. All those FDA guidelines that regulate permissible limits of various chemicals/additives/insects etc. in processed foods is based on shaky science and repeated consumption of such food leads to a build up of chemicals that the body cannot process and every once in a while some apoptosis regulating gene flips and you get cancer.

Home delivered restaurant food in India is best avoided unless it is an upscale place and even then consumption should be limited. As others have pointed out, there is zero transparency into what goes in the dishes and this being India, corners will be cut wherever possible. You never know what food color or synthetic flavor they are using or in what kind of oil they are frying your favorite fritters. If the Chinese, with their higher per capita income, can resort to gutter oil and melamine additives, I can only imagine what the road-side vendors and hole-in-the-wall 'restaurants' are using.

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Originally Posted by poloman View Post
I don't think frozen or outside food can be generalized as unhealthy. Indians in general need to reset their food habits. The carb and sugar heavy diet one can find in Indian homes is a bigger health hazard than these kind of home v/s outside food binaries.
Very true. Our diet of carbs and fried meats and veggies and sugar and carb laden desserts is not at all healthy. Consuming rice with every meal is just not necessary. A lot of our culinary traditions are an adaptation to poverty and famine. That 3/4th rice and 1/4th curry ratio is because people used to be poor so they just filled up their bellies with rice and a side of gravy/dal and a sprinkling of veggies or meat, if they were lucky. We need to let go of that culture and mentality. Rice or bread/chapati/roti with every meal is not a necessity. Have some potatoes instead, try meats without the curry etc. We need to learn to savor and celebrate the veggies and meats without suffocating them in gravies.


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Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
1. She would make portions of various veggies - paneer capsicum, guvar- Chana dal ...
2. Split the portions into small one portion-a-meal eg.150gms and store each such small portion in separate small containers
3. Put all these containers into the freezer
Heh. You guys were practicing meal prep and batch cooking even before it became a fad.


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Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
Just a word of caution. A lot of 'fresh' vegetables bought in India are grown in water that could be toxic. Over the years, stuff like cadmium, lead, mercury builds up.
Truth bomb right here. I have had greens and root veggies that tasted like detergent. Given the large population of barely educated farmers and our inefficient farming practices, we can never be sure what kind of soil our food is being grown in and what kind of run-off waste water is being used for irrigation. Desperate, poor and illiterate farmers poisoning the soil with pesticides and using waste water is a real issue that isn't talked about at all because that will be political suicide.

If you think pesticides in soft drinks and lead in noodles was bad wait till you get your veggies tested in a lab. The issue is even worse for carnivores, wild fish carry a good dose of all kind of nasty chemicals dumped into rivers and oceans. With poultry the dose is even more concentrated because the birds are fed fish meal which is prepared from the undesirable wild catch. This is biological magnification at play.

Last edited by Electromotive : 28th January 2022 at 11:04.
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Old 28th January 2022, 12:26   #43
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Originally Posted by Lobogris View Post
We need to modernise to make India more efficient. Wasting 2 to 3 hours per meal is not needed.
A lot of Indian cooking happens from scratch and takes time and effort. During the lockdown, I tried to suggest some process improvements But convincing Indian moms is not so easy. They refuse to acknowledge that a lot of this extra effort is not necessary and can be eliminated.
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Old 28th January 2022, 20:34   #44
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Originally Posted by mvadg View Post
Somehow fresh food has been equated to healthy in the comments here.
I think the topic of this thread is not about fresh food = healthy food, but that home-delivered cloud kitchen food = unhealthy food - because the current trend (at least partially) is to prepare and freeze items in bulk. Many of the restaurants and kitchens that made fresh food from fresh ingredients daily, went out of business over the last two years, largely because of the drop in dine-in customers as well as the comparatively higher cost of serving foods cooked with fresh ingredients procured daily.
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Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
I had bought some tomato during the recent price soar. While I put the shopping bag on the wall hook, I had forgotten one tomato in the bag and noticed it only when I took out the bag 2 months later. Voila ! The 'forgotten' tomato was as fresh and shiny as ever. Which means what you think as fresh need not be really fresh, but bathed so much in chemicals that even the devil wouldn't touch it.
Formaldehyde baths are wonderful for preserving raw meats, fish and veggies, but POISONOUS if consumed in sufficient quantities. This method of preservation has been practised surreptitiously in India for a number of decades now, but not much has been done to stop it.
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
No real nutritional advantage to frozen over fresh right?
I still believe that fresh is fresh. If there were two plates in front of you = same dish, same price, same taste. One is just cooked from fresh ingredients, the other frozen...what would you choose?
I'm not putting 2 year old food in my mouth, that's for sure.
Generally, raw foods, especially certain seasonal vegetables, meats and seafood, are OK to be frozen for prolonged periods (even 2 years), and do not harm or have any different taste once cooked and consumed freshly. The Ken article is of course talking about the practice of cloud kitchens using cooked & preserved gravies and dishes made in a master kitchen and distributed to customers after warming / heating. 12-18 months of shelf life for such items seems to be an exaggeration, unless they are freeze-dried and later reconstituted with water (Knorr soups, anyone? or Maggi noodles + tastemaker?). The issue here would be, whether the cold chain is maintained properly between preparation and the food reaching the end consumer.

When comparing the health quotient of home cooked foods to professionally cooked foods, that made at home is often healthier, but not necessarily tastier - primarily because it does not have 3 chief components that professionals use, to make food tastier. These are an excess of 1) fats (butter, ghee, oil); 2) salt and sugars; and 3) MSG aka Ajinomoto (most common in South-East Asian cuisines). None of these 3 components contribute in any way to better health, hence home cooked food wins hands down.
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Old 29th January 2022, 12:01   #45
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What a brilliant thread! No doubt that home cook food always triumphs over any thing which is from outside.
I do believe that leftovers (not stale) can be consumed without really throwing it away. Why waste food.
Since I come from an Odiya household we are used to having a dish called 'Pakhala'/'Panta Bhat' quite popular in east India is basically fermented rice and is considered very nutritious and consumed mainly in summers. In Tamil it is popularly known as 'Pazhaye Sooru'. There are many renditions of it we at home do it eat fresh, along with some roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Heck there is also a day marked as 'Pakhala Dibas'.
So for me it is subjective depends on what is being consumed to decide whether it is healthy or not. I would prefer a Pakhala over a leftover curry anyday.
The pandemic because of the WFH thingy has made cooking a family thing, my 6 year old son enjoys cooking, but we only allow fireless cooking and are always around. We have stopped getting milkshakes, juices, cookies from outside and do encourage him to try and make at home.
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