Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 16, Tuesday April 22, 2008



The humble potato

Potato presented itself in all culinary delights as Radisson Water Garden Hotel hosted Potato Feast an exciting, gastronomical experience for foodies to savour. Inaugurated on 16 April, the feast will end on 22 April 2008 at Water Garden Brasserie restaurant in Level 1.

Potato has been a true globetrotter. With its roots in the Andes Mountains of South America, the tuber is now the world's number four food crop. From the Yunnan plateau to the lowlands of India, to Java' equatorial highlands and the steppes of Ukraine- potato is everywhere. The fact that it is grown worldwide has delightfully added indigenous flavours to the recipes, and in simple terms created a delightful treasure trove for the taste-buds.

The reason behind this promotion was to display different flavours of potato. Even though potato is quite familiar to us in Bangladesh, it is not as widely used as it could be. From a nutritious point of view, it is rich in carbohydrates, has the highest protein content in the family of root and tuber crops and is also very rich in vitamin C. A single medium-sized potato contains about half the recommended daily intake and contain a fifth of the recommended daily value of potassium.

The buffet dinner at Tk. 1500 plus VAT, had showcased over 140 potato based dishes guaranteed to cater for the tastes of all diners. From delicious salads- aloo chat, German and Italian potato salad, aloo borta- to dishes like Venda aloo, stuffed potato with cheese, William potato, potato and meat strudel, and potato soufflé the range of dishes was rich in flavour. But it is the dessert that stole the show- sweet potato pie, potato halwa, sweet potato tart, baked potato and cheese cake, steam potato cake, sweet potato with sago, potato crème brûlée and to top it all- POTATO ICE CREAM!

So forget the calorie count for a day, rush to Radisson on the last day of the feast and taste the humble potato in all its glory.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


A new dawn

Prema silently counted her blessings at having the opportunity to witness a beautiful Boishakhi dawn, wondering how many more years she would have such a view, what with the concrete jungle gradually engulfing the city.

The sky was slightly overcast, suggesting the coming of a kal boishakhi storm. The air was heavy with the scents of summer: beli, chompa and chameli, while krishnochura, radhachura and hormochura trees with their wide-spread branches and bright, beautiful blossoms added stunning colour to the nature.

The nearby mango grove was teeming with the myriad shades of heavy green foliage. The different hues of green were a startling contrast against the grey of the morning sky. The little green mangoes gently danced in the breeze; creating a charm not expressed by words.

A parrot screeched and spread its bright green wings, the feathers blending with the colours of the mango grove. From the krishnochura she could hear the cuckoo sing its morning tune, softly and melodiously into a deep shriek as if to announce daybreak.

The milky white cranes took their chance of fluttering and changing branches, flying and gliding like Cessna planes, small yet confident. The melodious sound of a flute in the distance filled the air.

There was so much colour, hope and happiness all around that she thought of the upcoming Boishakhi mela, promoting culture in all its spheres; food, clothes, jewellery, pottery and simple musical instruments. Eyes a-glitter with excitement, people from all walks of life crowd the fairs. Ladies draped in lovely, soft, colourful, cotton saris complementing their beads and wooden jewellery flock the mela.

Along with buns and braids adorned with flowers, there was a current trend for painting faces- colourful flowers and butterflies on cheeks and foreheads. Although the day would be hot and humid, it would still be filled with fun and fanfare.

Some would try out khichuri on kolapata, pantabhath and fried hilsa on earthen bowls and of course the different bhorta and pithas. And amid sounds of laughter, shouts of - Shubho nobo borsho!

Drifting away on the tide of her daydream, Prema wondered what the New Year may hold for her. Smiling, she made a small wish.

The sudden piercing sound of the alarm clock jerked her back to reality and she let the curtain slip from her fingers shutting herself out from the world of fun, frolic and freedom. With moist eyes she focused on her mundane daily chores. Her choice?

By Khurshid Chowdhury


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