Archive for community

A chicken Farmer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by ecofrenfood
A chicken farmer went to a local bar…. sat next to a woman and ordered a glass of champagne.

The woman perks up and says, ‘How about that? I just ordered a glass of champagne, too!’

‘What a coincidence’ the farmer says. ‘This is a special day for me ….I am celebrating.’

‘This is a special day for me too, I am also celebrating!’ says the woman.

‘What a coincidence!’ says the farmer.  As they clinked glasses the farmer asked, ‘What are you celebrating?’

‘My husband and I have been trying for years to have a child, and today my gynecologist told me that I am finally pregnant !’

‘What a coincidence,’ says the farmer. ‘I’m a chicken farmer and for years all of my hens were infertile, but today they are all laying fertilized eggs.’

‘That’s great!’ says the woman. ‘How did your chickens become fertile?’

‘I used a different cock,’ he replied.

The woman smiled and said, ‘What a coincidence.’

India’s official poverty line doesn’t measure up

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by ecofrenfood

India’s official poverty line doesn’t measure up

It is time to separate people’s real needs from the arbitrary assessments of poverty that have guided Indian governments

assessments of poverty that have guided Indian governments

An Indian vendor sells aubergines at a market in Kolkata

An Indian vendor sells aubergines at a wholesale market in Calcutta.
Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP/Getty Images

India‘s poverty line has always been a matter of huge debate, but it was a discussion mostly confined to economists and policymakers. But the matter has now gone public, following a row about an affidavit from the planning commission to the supreme court of India, in which the official poverty line was set at 26 rupees (around $0.53) per person per day in rural areas and 32 rupees in urban areas. This can only be a good thing, because the official attempts to measure poverty are not just arcane, but riddled with contradictions.


How exactly are these numbers arrived at? The measure was developed in the early 1970s, when a group of experts decided the appropriate line would be set according to the average monthly consumption expenditure of households whose members consumed (per capita) 2,400 calories of food per day in rural India and 2,100 calories per day in urban India.


Subsequently, the poverty line has simply been updated using consumer price indices. These numbers now have little to do with actual calorie consumption because food consumption patterns have changed. However, the use of that line has been defended by official sources who have argued that, at that level of expenditure, families could afford to buy minimum food and have simply chosen not to.


Of course, this begs the question of whether it is really choice or the urgent need to consume other items (energy, healthcare and so on) that determine patterns of spending. Nevertheless, it is precisely this line (annually updated by consumer price indices) that has been used to describe the extent of poverty in India for decades. This was roughly similar to the World Bank’s estimate of $1 a day (now $1.25 a day) per person, not at nominal exchange rates, but at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates.


In recent times, various committees led by economists have come up with different ways to measure the extent of poverty. The official line delivers a poverty rate of around 32% of the population. A committee under Suresh Tendulkar estimated it at 37%, while another led by NC Saxena said 50%, and in 2007 the Arjun Sengupta commission identified 77% of Indians as “poor and vulnerable”. The World Bank’s PPP estimate of Indian poverty was higher than 40% in 2005, while the Asian Development Bank arrived at almost 50%. The UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index finds the proportion of the poor to be higher than 55%.


All this even sounds ridiculous. And if it were simply a question of measuring the extreme poor and tracking the extent of extreme poverty over time, this discussion could indeed be left to the social scientists. But what has made it matter – for all the wrong reasons – is that these arbitrarily drawn poverty lines have been used to determine the extent to which citizens receive subsidised access to essential goods and services.


Since the mid-1990s, various government schemes have differentiated between the categories of “Below Poverty Line” (BPL) and “Above Poverty Line”(APL), and it was announced that a whole range of subsidised goods and services – from cheaper food grain in the public distribution system to subsidised healthcare to access to funds for basic housing – would only be available to BPL households.


Since India has a federal system, state governments are in charge of delivery of all these goods and services, and they have to decide which households are most in need through surveys. In fact, many state governments have taken a more realistic view of the people in need and issued “BPL” cards to many more households than those recognised according to the official poverty line. In some southern states, for example, significantly more than two-thirds of rural households have BPL cards.


But the central government allocates resources (both money and food grain) to the states on the basis of the national poverty estimates taken from the national sample survey, which is based on the official poverty line. State governments that provide these goods and services to additional households have to finance the extra ones themselves. As they have faced hard budget constraints, this has become increasingly difficult. That is why the poverty numbers are such a bone of contention.


In this context, the only sensible thing for the government to do would be to separate the basic entitlements of the people, especially food, from such controversial numbers. This is the basic proposal of a statement signed by more than 30 leading economists, including two former state finance ministers and many senior economists who have worked with the government in different capacities. The statement is worth quoting in full:



We do not consider the official national poverty lines set by the planning commission, at 32 and 26 rupees per capita per day for urban and rural areas respectively, to be acceptable benchmarks to measure the extent of poverty in India. In any case, irrespective of the methodology we adopt to measure poverty, the number of poor and hungry people in the country remains unacceptably large.

While academic debates can continue on the appropriate measure of poverty in India, its extent and whether it is decreasing over time, we strongly believe that it is unacceptable and counterproductive to link the official poverty estimates to basic entitlements of the people, especially access to food. Official surveys of nutritional intakes and outcomes indicate that undernutrition is much more widespread than income poverty, however defined. It is also widely recognised that the targeted public distribution system (PDS) introduced since 1997 has done more harm than good by creating divisions even among the poor and has led to massive errors of exclusion. Recent evidence clearly establishes that states which have moved towards near universalisation of the PDS have performed much better in increasing offtake and reducing leakages.

Restoring the universal PDS appears to us as the best way forward in combating hunger and poverty. This is not only feasible within the available fiscal space of the Union (central) government but must be a policy priority in the backdrop of high and persistent food price inflation.




Following the controversy, the government has now declared that it will take into account multiple dimensions of deprivation for arriving at specific entitlements that rural households will receive, and that the current poverty estimates based on these declared numbers will not be used to impose any ceilings on the number of households to be included in different government programmes and schemes. We still have to see how this will play out, but here is a first step in the right direction.


• This article was amended on 4 October 2011. The final paragraph has been updated following the Indian government’s announcement on Tuesday that it would not cap poverty numbers. The paragraph had read: “This is something the government should pay heed to – otherwise, the growing perception is of a governing coalition that is not only riddled with corruption, but full of Marie Antoinette-style insensitivity.” This has now been changed.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2012 by ecofrenfood






Cantonese Gau Gei and Seaweed Soup

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Cantonese Gau Gei and Seaweed Soup

Serving: 3-5 people


A) Preparation for the Minced Chicken Ball

100 g chicken meat, minced
Salt (small pinch)
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp flour

B) Stock

1 tbsp oil (sunflower seed / olive)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 handful of dried anchovies (ikan bilis)
1 piece of seaweed (20 – 30 cm diameter)
200 g kau gei / gau gei / jiu ji / Chinese boxthorn / Lycium chinense
5 bowls of water (3 person = 3 bowls of water)
Salt to taste (½ tsp)


A) Minced Chicken Ball

Marinate minced chicken meat with all the seasoning in ingredient A for 5 minutes.
Form into ball.

B) Stock

Fry garlic till golden with oil and add dried anchovies (ikan bilis).
Add water till boil.
Add chicken ball.
Add kau gei and seaweed.
Add salt.

Bad habit

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by ecofrenfood

BAD HABITS (Don’t, Don’t, Don’t , DON’T!!!)
For goodness sake don’t eat your nails
They’re made from glue and bits of snails
So if you chew and bite them back
You’ll grow a shell upon your back!

For goodness sake don’t hold your breath
It’s something that can make you deaf
For if your ears fill up with air
You’ll never hear again, I swear!

For goodness sake don’t scratch your bum
‘Cause (I was told this by my mum)
If you should scratch yours every day
You’ll end up scratching it away!

For goodness sake don’t pick your nose,
From this would come the worst of woes,
If you commit this dreadful sin,
Eventually your face caves in!

George Ansell

Play dough for kids

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Rubbery Play dough

2 cups baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cornstarch

Mix with a fork until smooth. Boil over med. heat until thick. Spoon onto plate or wax paper.

Nature’s Play dough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 T oil
2 T cream of tartar
beet, spinach, and carrot juice

Mix flour, salt and oil, and slowly add the water. Cook over med. heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the dough with your hands until of proper consistency. Use as is, or divide into balls and add a few drops of the vegetable juices to make green, pink, and orange.

Bumpy dough

Add 3/4 cup water to 1/4 cup salt, then mix with 2 or 3 tsp. water.

Bread dough

Cut the crusts off slices of bread and mix with diluted white glue. Form into shapes, animals, etc. When dry, paint and/or shellac.

Paper Mache Paste #1

1/2 cup non rising wheat flour
1/4 cup powdered resin glue (available at hobby shops)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups hot water
4 drops oil of wintergreen

Mix the flour and resin glue in a saucepan. Slowly pour in the warm water. Then add the hot water and stir vigorously. Cook over low heat stirring until paste is smooth, thick and clear. Should be used in 2-3 days.

Paperhanger’s Paste

1 cup non rising wheat flour
1 T powdered alum
1 T powdered rosin (yes, rosin)
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups cold water
8 drops oil of cinnamon

Mix the flour, alum and rosin in a saucepan. Then add the warm water, stirring until smooth. Pour in the hot water and stir vigorously. Place over low heat and boil until the paste becomes thick and clear. Thin with cold water. Add oil as a preservative, if not using immediately.

“GUM” for stamps and paper labels

1 (1/4 3 ounce packet) of unflavored gelatin
1 T cold water
3 T boiling water
1/2 tsp white peppermint extract
2 drops boric acid solution

Sprinkle the gelatin into the cold water to soften. Pour into the boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

To use glue, brush thinly onto the back of a stamp or some paper and let dry. When applying to paper, just moisten it a bit. To keep, store in a small jar or bottle with a lid. Warm in a pan to turn into a liquid again.

Gouache Paint (opaque paint that dries quickly and can be painted on in layers)

2 cups dextrin (hobby stores have it)
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp glycerin
1/2 tsp boric acid solution
powdered or poster paints

Dissolve the dextrin in the water (will be foamy). Then add the honey, glycerin and boric acid. Stir well, or shake in covered jar.

Mix this base with powdered paint or poster paint and store tightly covered. Thin with water if too thick.


Put pieces of old crayons of the same or similar colors in a coffee can and set it in a pan of water on the stove. Cook until melted. Pour the wax into a mold and allow to harden.

Feelie Bags

1/2 cup dippity-do hair gel
food coloring
zip lock bag

Add food coloring and dippity-do to zip lock bag- make sure it is sealed well, and let children manipulate.

Health Benefits of Durian.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2011 by ecofrenfood

Health Benefits:

Durian is extremely nutritious because it is rich in vitamin B, C and E and with high iron content. Eating durian is alleged to restore the health of ailing humans and animals.
A preparation from its roots and leaves is prescribed by traditional doctors for fevers and jaundice.
Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases.
Durian fruit helps lower cholesterol.
Durian is a strong blood cleanser.
The ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth.
Durian contains high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, known to alleviate anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and create feelings of happiness, by raising levels of serotonin in the brain
Durian contains high level of soft protein which makes it a good muscle builder.
Durian has a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac.
Durian is recommended as a good source of raw fats.