Yesterday, while chatting with a friend, I happened to mention the Millets Mela, now on at Lalbagh. His prompt response was “what is that?”.
I wasn’t surprised. In these days of white rice, brand name atta, imported cereal for children and milk additives that are packaged well and priced high, it is not surprising that millets don’t have a market, even though a bajra roti or ragi malt in milk is as good if not better than more popular cereals.
On the other hand, it is also surprising why they don’t have a market, given their superior quality whether it be nutrition or the ease of cultivation. Millets have been important food staples, particularly in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa, since they grow in harsh environments where other crops do not grow well.
MILLETS MELA 13 – 15 April 2012 10.00 am – 7.30 pm Dr. Marigowda Memorial Auditorium, Near Nursery Men’s Cooperative Society Behind JKS Mall, Lalbagh, Bangalore (M) 9738449133, 9481438384
One occasionally hears a mention of “ragi malt” or “bajre ki roti”, but why aren’t they more mainstream? Maybe because of several reasons: the demand continues to be for the comparatively less nutritious white polished rice and refined atta, People are not aware how to cook the millets and incorporate them in their daily meals
Besides Ragi and maybe Bajra, these millets are not easy to source from your regular grocery store, these millets have to fight for shelf space with the big names in the food industry, and without the demand and the investment, they don’t stand much of a chance. Big brands with their attractive packaging along with day in and day out advertising do work wonders on people’s minds.
Seems like a Catch 22 situation of demand and supply, but the Millets Mela, an initiative by Earth360 Eco Ventures Pvt. Ltd. and Grameena Natural, which is on at Lalbagh from 13th-15th April, could help the situation.
The Dr. Marigowda Memorial Auditorium (Near Nursery Men’s Cooperative Society) was bustling with activity today as the mela was inaugurated. On sale were a number of varieties of rice, millets, products made from millets, organic pickles and jams, juices and oils.
So stock up on whatever you might possibly want! And a booklet of recipes! Worth a shot when the usual fare gets a bit boring.
Millet malt and millet rusks for taste, as were millet laddus and snacks. And if all that uncooked food or the small bits for taste made your stomach cry out for good soul food, then just stroll out of the auditorium for a lovely lunch of bisibele bhath, khara bhath, curd rice, and wash it down with a hot glass of fantastic millet malt, all made from organic foods.
And if you are finding it tough to decide which rice variety to buy or what to do with a packet of navane, don’t despair, because you can just ask the people at the counters who are more than eager to help you with information. Here’s to a healthy weekend!