Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 62, Tuesday October 31, 2006




I go nuts for nuts

Did you know that squirrels love nuts? In fact, they simply go nuts for nuts. The cute furry little creature work real hard to collect hundreds of them every day. Obviously they cannot eat all of them. So they save some for the future. They carefully hide the nuts in a place where no one else, mostly squirrels cannot find it. I bet you knew all this information already. But did you know that squirrels cannot always remember where they buried their nuts.

Not just squirrels, humans as well go nuts for nuts. Like squirrels, humans all around the world go through equal amount of hassles just to relish their favourite munch. Some times even more because humans eat them in a variety of fashion, roasted, salted, in firni or payesh, in a cake or chocolate, in salad or simply raw. There is no ending of the account how one can enjoy nuts.

In our continent for instance, nuts are used in every sweet items. During festivals our favourite sweet delicacies like Firni, Jarda or Halwa is always garnished with peanuts, almonds or cashews. Just a sprinkle of pistachio makes it taste like heaven. Then there are Badam Barfi, a delicacy that makes many people the happiest person in the world. A few nuts in Polao or Biriany make it even more desirable. There are drinks that need ground badam. Is that all?

Peanut is an afternoon pass time. People simply enjoy peanuts sitting lazily and chatting for hours. Any occasion, be it Pahela Baishakh or neighbourhood cricket match peanuts add something extra that cannot be explained in words.

Nuts made their way in to our lives during the ancient period when people were closer to monkeys. It is still a part of the culinary culture all around the world. Chestnut is used in soups, fritters, porridge, stuffing and stews, as well as eaten raw or roasted. It is dried and canned- whole or pureed, or ground into flour. Pistachio and Pecans are used in ice cream, cakes, bread and confections. Almond oil is used for flavouring and for skin care preparations. A nutritious nut milk and flour is made from almonds. Hazels are made into oil and nut butter. Peanut is probably the most popular all around the world. Other than eaten salted peanut oil is used in cooking, as salad oil or in margarines. We could nibble on nuts for hours and the accounts would just go on.

While we nibble on nuts, what happens to all the nuts squirrels cannot find. Well, some of them are retrieved by other squirrels or they simply remain buried. Most of those that remain buried sprout into saplings, meaning more nuts in the future. Good for nut-loving humans and squirrels wouldn't you say.

By Shahnaz Parveen

Books to read

Hot Reads

The White Mughals (William Dalrymple)
A certain James Achilles Kirkpatrick landed in 18th century India, an ambitious East India Company officer come to conquer mystical India. And yet, in only a little while it was his own heart that was conquered by the land, by an Indian princess, Khair un Nissa, a niece of the prime minister of the Nizam of Hyderabad. She is locked up in Purdah and engaged to a local nobleman but Kirkpatrick's heart is not to be tamed. Glimpsing her for the first time in 1798 at the Nizam's court, he overcomes all hurdles to finally marry her and over time, converts to Islam and becomes a double agent for the Hyderabadis against the East India Company. This fast paced and almost addictively readable novel blends history and romance in the perfect blend and is full of interesting facts about how India changed irreversibly many of its conquerors. While spinning the web around one story, it feeds into the unknowing reader an immense amount of historical tit bits in a much more digestible form than regular history books. Call it a tale of love and betrayal, a family saga, or a dramatic history book it's a book not to be missed!

The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
Growing up in the midst of an Afghanistan on the verge of revolution and change, Amir was overwhelmed by conflicts of his own. Should he side with his faithful little Hazara friend or should he sink into the prejudices that come with the wealth and class into which he was born? Before he can make up his mind or admit to have witnessed a terrible turn of events, his family is thrown into the war and they move to Pakistan and then the United States. With memory, change and emotion tossed into the timeframe of a person's tumultuous life, The Kite Runner makes a heartrending read that shows it is never one person's life because so many others are always intertwined with it. It moves beautifully between the carefree ambitions of childhood and the ebb and flow of adult indecision. The narrator has an invisible half that is missing but whose essence is always there like the secret associated with him, the memory that pulls Amir back to his home in Afghanistan years later in search of redemption. What makes the Kite Runner more than the usual book is that it is at the same time a story of two friends and also an insight into the wars within people, conflicts, fears and social injustices that most people can
never gather the courage to face.

By Diya

Shop talk

A suit is timeless when it comes to fashion. Think 1940's and you had suits, fast forward twenty years into the sizzling 60's and you had them. Fast forward some more over the roaring 70's and even the rebellious 90's and suits have maintained their standing as the chief formal attire for men (and recently women) all over the world. Aside formal occasions like weddings or official meetings, suits are rarely used but that should not stop you from buying one that can blaze a trail. Three buttons and shirt collars are in vogue now and if you don't want to venture into international brands you can check out Westecs who have a pretty good offer on them. Prices range from the mid 6000 range to about Tk. 10,000. And just before eid they had a 'buy one, get one free offer.' But its worth checking out even if you cant avail the offer.

The great thing about T-shirts is that they are so very versatile. You can don them almost everywhere unless attire requirements are almost strictly formal; and sometimes even then. They are to the upper body what jeans are to the lower and its no wonder that they both work so well together. If you are looking for some preppy T-shirt designs for this season you can check out a wide collection in places like Westecs, Ecstacy, Pretex and Texmart to name but a few. You can get them in plain single colours or go for the whole retro look. Prices may vary between Tk.120 Tk.160.

To complete the ultra-male look and in progression from T-shirts to Suits, we come to shoes. Apex has a wide range of formal shoes that should go well with the suits that you may buy. And if its not something that formal you are looking for, you can get sneakers at very reasonable deals from Bata this holiday. Prices range from Tk.1200 Tk.1800 and then some.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

On the cover

Eid's gone, but that's no reason not to look fab and feminine. As the party season closes in, try out one of these eye-catching hairstyles and knock em dead!

Hair, make-up and styling: Farzana Shakil
Photo: Munem Wasif


With the seasons changing and the political instability forcing us to the confines of our homes, you may find yourselves sneezing or feeling generally under the weather. However, drowning yourself in heavy medication, closing windows to keep out the weather and pigging out on Eid leftovers is no way to deal with it! Here's how you can spring right back up without breaking a sweat!

Bone boogie
Bad hip? Bad back? Instead of popping a pain pill, pop in your favorite CD, and press 'Play'. Nagging, gnawing pain can grind anyone down. But now there's scientific evidence that the right kind of music can pick you up, easing discomfort and lifting your spirits. What's the "right" kind? Anything you like -- relaxing sounds, classic rock, edgier beats, whatever sounds good to your inner spirit is good for your body, too.

Fruity goodness
If a balanced diet just isn't in the cards on a particular day, a multivitamin is a great way to fill in nutrition gaps. Likewise, a single supplement -- say, a vitamin C pill -- may be better absorbed than the same nutrient in foods. But that doesn't mean it's better to down pills than to eat vegetables. Why? Because it's quite possible that it's not just one nutrient that helps fight cancer or heart disease; rather, it's a combination of several ingredients. In other words, orange juice contains much more than vitamin C. So next time you need a vitamin boost, reach for the fruit, not the tablets.

Is the cold giving you a cold?
Q: Myth or fact? You can catch a cold by running around without a sweater when the mercury dips.

A: Myth. It's not cold weather that makes you sick. It's close quarters and less air circulation. Chilly weather drives people indoors, and rubbing elbows with friends and neighbors allows viruses to spread easily. Research shows that getting cold or wet or not wearing woolies has no effect on whether you wind up sniffling and sneezing. What does? Washing your hands; any germs you pick up go down the drain.

By Sabrina F Ahmad and Diya




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