Saturday, 16 April 2011

GM Cows bred to produce 'human milk'!!

It's not often that a headline terrifies me, but this one, on page 11 of The Daily Mail on Monday April 4th 2011, did.

As a vegan, I obviously don't think we should drink cow's milk.  The cow produces milk to feed her baby, a calf.  Female humans produce milk to feed their own babies, passing on antibodies to their offspring.

It's a good system.  No bottles to sterilise and carry around.  No worries in the summer heat of keeping the bottles of milk cool.  No running out of bottles when we get stuck in traffic jams or at airports etc. 

Breasts cleverly just keep on replenishing the milk supply.  No need to think about increasing the quantity of milk to give the baby, the breast produces as much as is needed, guided by the sucking of the baby.  It's a pretty good system, when you think of it.

Sadly, some mothers experience problems with breastfeeding and give up.  I had to use nipple shields for a month before I could manage to feed my daughter unaided.  But it was worth the inconvenience as she fed from me until she was a year old.

Now, they're genetically engineering cows to produce what they call "human milk".  300 Holstein dairy cows have been "modified" by the addition of human genes to "make their milk contain the same nutrients and fat content as breast milk".

Of course, it's not breast milk.  It's cow's milk that's been altered by man.  It will still need to be pasteurised, so it will never be the fresh product that babies deserve.

Not to mention that cow's deserve to be allowed to be themselves, not given human genes in order to "benefit" babies! 

Patti Rundall, of Baby Milk Action pointed out that there could be "incredible risks with these products that we don't know about.  Cow's milk is never going to be like breast milk.  It's never going to be a living product like breast milk.  Breast milk is species specific - there is no element of risk."

The voice of reason.  I hope she's listened to.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Mother's Day made me think

I drove for an hour and a half across the Pennines to visit my mum to say happy Mother's Day yesterday, as you do, and spent a happy few hours there before returning home again.  I'd made her an embossed card, decorated with some hand made paper with flowers and leaves in it.

I received a lovely hand made card from my daughter, who lives "down South".  She has carefully cut out the letters to spell "MUM", and it looks really neat:)

It got me thinking ... well, something has to, doesn't it?

When we're young, we call our mothers "Mummy", or "Mommy" in the US.  I called my mother Mummy, and my daughter called me Mummy.

What occurred to me was this - at some point "Mummy" or "Mommy" becomes "My Mum" or "My Mom".   But it's the same five letters, isn't it?  I thought that was quite sweet, really, and I'm amazed that I haven't noticed it until today!

I hope, if you're a mother, that you enjoyed a happy day:)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Prashad - a Michelin starred Indian vegetarian cafe in Bradford

I went for a visit with my parents recently, which was lovely - it had been ages since I saw them what with one thing and another.

A friend had told me shortly before I went that a vegetarian Indian cafe, Prashad, in Bradford had been named in the Michelin guide.  Naturally, I wanted to eat there!

I asked my brother if he knew of it, but as he's a carnivore par excellence, he wasn't really interested, but he did say he'd come with us if my parents wanted to go.  They did, and he managed to book a table for my final evening.  It was six o'clock or nothing, so we ate early.

The premises has two entries, and, of course, we went in one side, only to be told that our table was in the other side, so we had to go back out into the street and walk along to the next door - it wasn't possible to walk through between the eating areas, which was a little strange.

The tables were black plastic, with no cloths.  The napkins were paper.  But they were clean and neatly set.  There was very little space between them, a cosy tete-a-tete wouldn't be possible!

The menu is basically Gujerati or Punjabi, and potatoes feature largely on the menu.  However, as vegetarians and vegans, it's lovely to be spoiled for choice.  Many of the items are vegan, and these, along with wheat free foods, are indicated, which is a great help to me, especially, and my mother. 

My brother and I shared a mixed starter for about £8, which had 8 or 9 items, some duplicated, as you'd expect with a sharing platter.  Delicious.  My parents opted for stuffed mushrooms - since there were some on our platter, I know they were good:)

We each chose a different main course, Dad had a burger, with chips.  I had aubergine and pea curry, my brother the chickpea curry, and Mum chose Idli with sambar and yogurt sauce.  We also had a portion of their massala chips to share, just a touch spicy, and good and chunky.  Dad was persuaded into a garlic naan by my brother, who opted for a plain naan.  I chose the kichdi rice with lentils to accompany my curry.

Mum is unable to eat hot ie chilli heat, food due to a medical condition, and I asked the waiter to request that the sambar to accompany her Idli was mild.  He said that couldn't be done, which seemed a little strange to me in a such an establishment.  He then said he'd ask them to make it milder when he saw Mum's disappointment.

Sadly, when it arrived, the sambar was too hot, although she enjoyed the light, airy Idli.  Another waiter, seeing that her sambar was untouched, offered to fetch something else from the menu for her.  He suggested that the paneer massala was the mildest choice, and this arrived, complete with chappatis, in good time.  Sadly, even this was too hot, but she was able to pick out the paneer.

The chef/owner, Kaushy, came round the tables, and when she heard of Mum's problem, she assured us that she could have made the sambar without any chilli, and would the next time we ate there.

This begs the question why did the waiter fail to pass on the request for a mild dish to the kitchen?  In an eatery featured in the Michelin guide, I would expect that the waiting staff need to be as well informed as the cooks in the kitchen about possibilities.

So, we spent an enjoyable hour or so, I appreciated my food, and tasted my brother's, too, and he mine.  The rice was dry and made a pleasant change from plain basmati rice.  Prices were reasonable and portion sizes fine.

Was it the best Indian food I've ever eaten?  No, sadly not.  Would I go again?  Yes, because it was enjoyable, if not the best.  We discovered that they also do a take-away service, with free delivery within a 3 mile radius - so perhaps another time we'll try that - with a meal deal of around a tenner a head, it's a good option.

Where do you go for your favourite Indian meal?