Going Bananas

June 30, 2007 at 9:31 am | Posted in Adansonia digitata, Artocarpus heterophyllus, banana, baobab, Garcinia mangostana, Genesis, jackfruit, jambolam, mangosteen, nenthram, poovan, rasthali, sevallai, Syzygium cumini, victorias | 3 Comments
Folks who have lived in or travelled to the tropics will testify to an abundance of interesting fruits at any time of the year.

There are so many delicious fruits to remember from Africa.

Two of my favourites from East Africa are the Baobab fruit (Adansonia digitata L. on the right) and the rare Victorias (? ref. neeed). More friends have broken arms and legs trying to be the first to get at the Baobab fruit on the slippery branches of these ‘upside down’ giant trees!
In India such delicacies as Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.),

Mangustan (Mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana L.) and the deliciously acerbic Jambolam (Black Plums, Syzygium cumini L.) arrive in sequence in the early summer and make life very livable.

The Genus Musa:
But nothing comes close to comparing with our varieties of banana!

We have super sweet varieties, soft ones, tough ones, red ones, honey flavoured ones and the list goes on… and on.

In Kerala, the all time favourite variety of banana is the Nenthram. The word ‘plantain’ is misleadingly used of this fruit. This is a robust variety with seeds and a very firm texture. The taste of an orange centred, ripe fruit is quite sweet but with a tart edge to it.

The unripe fruit can be sliced thin and fried into crisp tasty chips (only coconut oil is use for frying and the combination of flavours is wonderfully aromatic), while the ripe fruit can be steamed, eaten as is, or batter dipped and made into the tastiest fritters (slightly salty batter with succulent nuggets of sweet Nenthram embeded in it).

Needless to say, fried chips and fried fritters are out for me, but the steamed varieties I can still enjoy.

Each variety has it’s special flavour, texture, aroma and taste. There is the red and quite robust Sevallai (right), the chubby delicately flavoured Rasthali, and the ‘anytime after food digestive’, the Poovan.

Let me assure you that the temperately available common variety ‘Cavendish’ just does not begin to do justice to real, fresh, tropical bananas.

Why I am particularly now reminded of these wonerful fruits is mostly because in the aftermath of my hearty lesson (previous post) my diet has been severely restricted; no oil, no meat, no eggs, BUT I can eat as much as I want of vegetables and yes – fruits!

I have little if anything to complain about when the abundance and variety of very tasty fruits comes to mind. I am also reminded that our first parents were set up in a (tropical?) orchard and appear to have been fruititarians, or so implies the book of Genesis!


I my SELF?

April 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm | Posted in atheism, Autism, creation, Deleuze, Derrida, Gadamer, Genesis, Hegel, hermeneutics, Ivan, ktismatics, Lacan, nurture vs nature, Piaget, self, Tomasello | 9 Comments

In a fascinating post and discussion on what constitutes ‘the self’ Ktismatics has topped off a series of posts (developed over some time) discussing the ideas of Hegel, Derrida, Gadamer, Lacan, Deleuze, Tomasello, and many others, and charting out some new territory too on subjects as diverse as language, hermeneutics, psychotherapy relationships, and the self.

Particularly in our work with autistic children, but also with those who have other developmental problems, we often encounter the process of discovering and developing the sense of self. Our interaction, though, is always on the practical side. We are trying to ‘correct deficits’ and the norm is always what the majority of kids of that age group would attain.

How much is ‘just’ genetics and what effects do changes in nurturing style and other ‘inputs’ have on these children? Even if one is inclined to see the self as largely genetically programmed, one is still reminded that an awful lot depends on skill, and skill is something that is very relationally learned. But, my own feeling is that it is not even 50% genes. I believe that environment and social context make a huge difference. I have witnessed what effect some focused therapy can have on a child. We also see marked changes with modifications in physical factors like diet and sleep and exercise.

Children should indeed be encouraged and helped to reach their full potentials. How exactly we go about doing this is something that every parent, teacher, therapist, or anyone else that is around kids a lot, needs to keep struggling with. The child’s sense of self and the child’s developing personality do require and demand our attention and care.

I am very thankful indeed for Ktismatics’ massive effort to help to clarify some very confusing issues even though a large part of my confusion still remains! Indeed very often the discussion has gone right over my head but always in the process setting off various trains of thought and bringing much needed fresh perspectives.

I won’t even attempt to summarise what I am now thinking on this fascinating subject. I find that my reliance on a few thinkers such as Piaget has left me with an inadequate foundation (not Piaget’s fault!) and so much rethinking is now going on in my mind that whatever I might say now would be just garbled. So, do read for yourselves…

I have some other selfish reasons for frequenting Ktismatics’ blog one of which is the ongoing discussion with Ivan that was graciously hosted by Ktismatics shortly after a spam catcher on another blog set some of us adrift as we began a discussion on atheism, religion and evolution-creation! Which then led to the discovery of ktismatics nascent book on creation and in turn, that fascinating topic morphed into a fullscale, ongoing, exegesis of Genesis at OST. Right now, of course, the creation of the self is what it’s about!


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