Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 29, Tuesday, July 19, 2011



King of your own space

Unlike women, men lack the ability to break down a concept into its simplest bits and instead define things holistically. That is why, while a woman critically analyses another's make-up, attire etc before coming to a fashion judgement, men take in the overall appearance and jump to “hmm pretty” or “beautiful”.

This intrinsic characteristic of being male is what hinders them in making the proper furnishing decisions for a place where they alone are the kings i.e. the sole occupants. Moreover, since the concept is still new in our society, young men with a place of their own may find it difficult to see their holistic ideas about their crash pad's decoration translated into reality with that perfect table or drapes or even wall colours.

Today's bachelors who have set out on their own are usually well-off, having worked hard since their 20s and hence accumulating a respectable amount of liquid wealth. Thus they enjoy greater freedom of affordable styles. In order to ensure that their hard-earned cash does not go to waste with bad furnishing decisions, it is necessary that in decorating a new place they keep the following in mind.

The home is where the heart is: thus it is essential to surround yourself with styles close to your heart. Ask yourself if you are the classic lover, comfortable with antiques sharing their history and enriching yours, or are you the hipster, a fan of the funky cabinets and retro sofas which will make people stare for a while.

You may even be the athletic dude, with that humungous TV being the centrepiece of your mini mansion or, at the other end of this spectrum, the cultured bloke, surrounded by literature and deeply meaningful paintings. Whichever style you relate to the most should take precedence in your furniture shopping and guide you in the overall decoration process.

Remember, it's a big no-no to merge styles from different ends of the spectrum, meaning, you may get away with merging the classic lover and the cultural look but trying to incorporate retro items in such a room has a high probability of making it look like a yard sale!

Functional furnishing: that's the second mantra to a properly decorated bachelor pad. Functional furnishing is not only better in terms of value for money but also has the added advantage of being easier to maintain. Daily use of all your furnishing will prevent them from gathering dust and in this weather and with that busy lifestyle of yours, this really is a big advantage. So while you are out to buy those basic necessities, don't get sidetracked by that piece of marvellous decoration; instead find pieces which are both good to look at and good for their designated purpose.

Lighting is another factor which requires a lot of mental processing. The option for soft lighting should be kept for those times when you just want to sit back, relax and drift off. Other than that, numerous light shades are available in the market and all you need to do is choose the ones in congruence with your style.

Finally, keep changing the order of your furniture, the drapes on your windows and even the colour of your walls on a regular basis, say once every year. This will keep things fresh. Do keep your place neat and tidy by limiting the daily mess created to as confined a space as possible (your bedroom). And finally treat your home with love; after all, you will have to come back to her every night.

By Raisaa Tashnova

For the kitchen with a manly touch

Devoid of companionship and family bondage, bachelorhood can seem to be quite a ghastly state of living to us normal beings. But it has to be acknowledged that taking care of oneself without the help of an external individual is a huge task that bachelors, living alone, accomplish everyday, starting from menial daily chores of the house to taking care of themselves when sick .

Yet even after accomplishing such great responsibilities, they are looked upon as disorganised and primal. Though messy and unorthodox, they should be given the credit for running a house all by themselves.

The kitchen area of a bachelor pad is perhaps one of the most dangerous of regions. Although many might assume that primal bachelors lack cooking skills, experience has shown that many bachelors not only enjoy cooking, but often have good recipes at their disposal.

Cooking a meal at a bachelor's pad, however, can have pitfalls like a lack of ingredients, inadequate utensils, dirty dishes, compromised hygiene and a refrigerator filled with mould-covered food.

Every guy who truly claims to be independent and on his own, needs to, at a minimum, be able to boil water and fry an egg. Cooking basics are essential because a little cooking know-how goes a long way when you are either hungry or trying to impress someone.

It is always mandatory that you have the proper cookware in your kitchen. Hence 1 quart and 2 quart pots are a must for your kitchen. These are the minimal requirements that will allow you to cook a range of things starting from rice to curries. Along with that, a frying pan is a necessity. This all-purpose piece of equipment will suffice for a variety of tasks from making sauce, to stir-frying and making breakfast. Finally a mixing bowl is important for all those marinating and salad making purposes.

Non-stick Teflon coated pots and pans are available and are usually a favourite of bachelors. The steel ones are better as Teflon coats usually peel off and thus have a shorter life span, especially at the hands of bachelors.

Apart from the utensils, it should be kept in mind that the refrigerator needs to be cleaned regularly and the food replaced if outdated. It should also be ensured that the kitchen is loaded with the basic necessities like salt, oil, whisks, spoons, etc. And finally, to top it all off, the kitchen sink must not be stacked with dirty dishes. Try using liquid soap for cleaning dishes, not bars, as it is less messy to use and more effective. Finally decide on a place for everything in your kitchen and make sure that they are in their proper place after every meal.

So to all the bachelors out there, happy cooking!

By Afrida Mahbub



To a girl hair is probably her most valuable asset. So this season why not adorn your hair with cute, colourful and over the top, over-sized headpieces? Bold accessories worn on the hair is all the hype right now, so here are a few pointers that will help you find the perfect headpiece that will suit your personality.

What to look for in a headpiece
This season is all about vibrant colours. So while picking out the headpieces from the various shopping malls; the brightest shades of pink, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple and red are the right way to go. These colours really stand out against our rich, dark Bengali hair colour. Now if you aren't a big fan of loud colours, how about going for black and white?

What shapes and patterns to go for
Get in touch with your super feminine side and think 'girly'. By that I mean shapes like bows, butterflies, strawberries, cupcakes and of course flowers! Polka dots and plaids are the most popular choices for bows whereas the flowers can be 3-D and realistic - - which beats real flowers as they won't wither and die on you. Then there are cute little rhinestone tiaras, which you used to wear as a child and now can wear on top of a puff. But if you are feeling somewhat daring then you can go for the feathered ones; peacock feathers particularly make beautiful headpieces.

What to do if you can't find the kind of headpiece you've been looking for
Get all crafty and make them! It's a lot of fun and it gives you a chance to get in touch with your creative side. You can see ribbon rose making tutorials on Youtube, make huge paper fans and staple them in the middle to make bows; or just cut off a bit from an old stretchy headband and tie the middle with a ribbon to make an adorable yet wearable bow.

In all the cases mentioned, you would have to attach a bobby pin or some kind of a clip at the back to complete the piece. If you aren't in a crafty mood, then go through the boxes containing your childhood stuff -- I bet you will find some interesting head bands/clips there which you can modify or just wear as they are.

This look has been popularised by pop icon Lady Gaga, Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, Kenley Collins from Project Runway season 5 and some of the royals at the recent Royal Wedding. It also photographs well and is perfect for a Facebook shot. So if you are feeling fashion forward, then go ahead and put on a pretty headpiece this season to brighten up your look!

By Naziha Amin


Dude food

Whether you are a bachelor living alone or with family, if you are in your twenties it is highly likely that you spend very little time at home, often using it as a space to come back after a long day and just drop. If you are working or at university, chances are that you come home at odd hours of the day, when there is no meal waiting for you, or if you are living alone you do not have the time nor energy to prepare an elaborate feast. That is when you have to get a bit inventive and whip together for yourselves the 'five-minute-snack':

The first thing to do is spend your own money to keep your fridge well-stocked with snack items such as sausages, burger patties, nuggets, salamis, cheese slices etc. as well as condiments such as tomato sauce, mustard and mayonnaise. A cautionary warning: living on these exclusively is a recipe for a massive coronary down the line, so it is important to supplement these with healthy meals at least once a day. These five-minute ideas are really for those occasions when you are hungry and in a hurry.

There is a lot you can do with the sausage. It's great if you have a microwave, but there is a lot to do even if you don't. Make small incisions on the skin of the sausage and heat it up for 25 30 seconds. Then, put a cheese slice on a slice of bread and put that in the microwave for 10 seconds. The cheese will melt to make a delicious gooey spread on the bread, on which you can put the sausage and make a wrap, as the bread will have softened up. You can pour some mustard or ketchup, or both, and you have a delicious homemade version of the hot dog. With a microwave, it won't take more than three minutes.

If you don't have a microwave, there is another innovative way of achieving much the same. Impale the sausage on a fork and hold it over an open flame on the stove to get the barbecue effect. It requires a bit of skill to heat the sausage evenly and not burn it in places, but you will get the hang of it in a few tries. Of course, you can use the frying pan, but this one is a bit quicker. Then, for the cheese and bread you can just put them on a frying pan with the flame on high just for ten seconds and you will get the desired gooey effect.

This is where you can get really innovative, mixing ingredients that you like. Salamis, sliced sausages, meatballs, or a combination of all three and much more; all depends on your particular taste. One interesting and not-so-unhealthy way to have a sandwich is to toast two breads, and while they are being toasted make a poached egg (really the basic necessity of being civilised). Then, coating the bread with mayonnaise or butter, put the egg between a layer of salami and/or sliced cheese (okay, maybe not so healthy after all), and make an uncommonly good sandwich. This is just an example of out of the box thinking; make your own dream.

Sweet breakfast surprise
Running late for work, and feeling hungry? Take out a jar of jam, some shor, and a jar of honey, and a slice of bread. Toast the bread, and first spread a layer of jam, then spread the shor evenly, and top it off with a dollop of honey. The result is a sweet taste explosion that will set you in a good mood for the day to come.

Again, these are just ideas and really the tip of the iceberg. We all have differing ideas of what makes food great. Just remember to think out of the box - follow your taste buds and you will reach some really tasty conclusions.



Birthday bash

By Kaniska Chakraborty

Birthdays come and birthdays go. Even at my soft middle age, a birthday has some significance. Since the last nine years, a new significance has been added to my birthday. I lost my father nine years ago on my birthday. Some say sorry to me. I say what is inevitable is inevitable. But what that means is I do remain a little pensive and lost in my own thoughts.

What cheers me up are the many good wishes that keep pouring in from all corners. By evening, usually, I am back to my normal self.

This year was no exception.

My birthday was on a Saturday. Which meant I had the day off. Unfortunately, my wife had to work through the day. I spent the day mostly with my mother and in the evening, caught up with my wife. We tried to catch a movie and do a bit of retail therapy.

We also planned a dinner at my friend's recently opened restaurant. This is where the story really begins. My mother; ever sceptical about restaurant food, my wife; the recent experimenter and I; the all eater, lover of all food. Quite a trio. To please us is a task for any restaurateur.

My mother will not touch anything that is remotely tart. Chili and her are not the best of friends. She has recently grown a healthy dislike for all things meat. My wife loves to be surprised, but within boundaries. Her taste varies from appreciation of the extreme to loving the most known. I am always looking to push the boundaries of taste and flavour. Give me a salted caramel any day over caramel custard.

Soon, we got down to ordering. My chef friend helped us out with suggestions that would please our distinctly different palates. We settled for a baked crab appetiser, my mother for a bhetki simmered in aamada sauce and my wife chose a classic vindaloo. I stayed true to the season and requested the hilsa, baked with a crust fashioned out of something very Bengali, very traditional - dalerbori.

I really do not have too many English words to describe a bori. Pulses made into a smooth dense paste and pellets created out of that brought about convoluted descriptions to mind. A classic ingredient of the Bengali fish curry.

The genius that my friend is, he created a breadcrumb style coating out of borion, one side of a boneless piece of hilsa. Then he baked it to flaky perfection. A bite and I was mesmerised. He took two classic Bengali ingredients, hilsa and the bori, and fused them, nay, willed them together to create this culturally relevant and visually different dish. The mild crust of the bori yielded pale hilsa flesh. The lentil bite of the bori paved the path for the creamy fishy delight that is hilsa. He did not take the skin of the fish out, which led to an unctuous undertone to the whole dish.

It came with a tomato pilaf, another nod to modernisation. It also, veering off tradition, came with steamed veggies. But they soon became secondary. I did not want to do the foodie thing of trying everything in each forkful. I was happy with my bites of the traditional twist.

We went home, a happy, satiated family and had some close friends over to cut the cake. Food, family, friends. What more does one need on a birthday?

See what I mean? Birthdays are occasions to be thankful for what we get and what we have.


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