VELLORE: ‘Murukku’ made of small millet‘varagu’, ‘vadai’ made of ‘thinai’, chukka roti made of ragi, samai, thinai and cholam, cake made of multi-millets, halwa made of ragi, samai, laddu made of sprouts, burfi made of thinai and pakkoda made of varagu were some of the mouth-watering dishes that were displayed by the students of Food and Nutrition department attached to the UG and PG courses at the DKM college here, that attracted large number of visitors at the traditional food festival underway at the Town hall on Friday. The week-long festival is being organized by the District Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), which was inaugurated by the Collector on Wednesday.
‘We are so happy to take part in this festival to demonstrate the values and the need for people to migrate to traditional food items, not only on health grounds but also for the affordability and simplicity of preparation,” echoed some of the students. Harsha, a second year PG student, who had prepared wafer thin, oil-free roti made of multiple millets said, these food items could be prepared almost instantly and could serve as a snack supplement. Sujitha another student said, she had to go to her grandmother’s village nearby to learn the recipe for making murukku from varagu.
Visitors were seen interacting with the enthusiastic students about various food items and trying to pick up tips for better preparation. Social activist R Chandrasekaran, who visited the stalls said, a separate stall demonstrating the preparation of various food items could have provided more practical information than the banners put up at the stalls. A sales counter could also have been arranged so that people could have purchased the items and relished the taste. More details on availability of traditional food items and prices would have useful for visitors, he added. Another visitor Ravichandran said, such festivals should be organized across the district to rediscover the values of traditional food items.
Project officer of the ICDS Bakiarajan said, this was for the first time that the traditional food festival was being organized in Vellore, to create awareness among the public on forgotten food items. He said on Thursday a puppet show by the CMC staff was held on the nutritional value of various food items. The last three days are expected to be more interesting.
On Saturday, the department of agriculture would conduct a programme on cultivating millets and their marketing. On Monday, chefs from Hotel Khanna in the city would demonstrate cooking of traditional food items followed by a debate show on ‘traditional foods vs fast food. On Tuesday, the students and staff members of the department of Home Science attached to the Government Arts College will deliver lectures on food, followed by poster presentations. Elocution and essay competitions would also be held for school students.