Saturday, January 30, 2010


In less than 50 years kitchens in India have undergone a revolution and many functions earlier done manually are being carried out with the help of so called gadgets. Imagine how the older generation house wives were toiling in the kitchen with stone made mortar and pestles for grinding, wood fired hearths for cooking and manual cleaning of utensils and dining plates. While LPG stoves have established their omnipotent presence in almost all urban house holds, its influence is spreading fast to many rural areas, especially those near the urban centers.Most impact making step in modernization involved mechanization of grinding operation with designs that simulated manual grinding, followed by table top grinders with more compact design and efficiency. The idea is to ensure the quality of batter made remains almost similar to authentic manually ground counterparts.

Advent of electric mixers or blenders complimented the role of wet grinders to the extent that they are of smaller capacity suitable for daily use without the inevitable task of elaborate and arduous cleaning involved after the use of the latter after every use. But the batter or ground materials made with a blender were invariably considered of inferior quality because of its tearing action compared to the crushing action in wet grinders. Food processor is synonymous to an electric motor-driven appliance but manual devices are also there. A food processor works in a similar pattern to that of a blender but have the extra advantage of interchangeable blades and disks instead of a fixed blade. The bowls in a food processor are wider, shorter and more appropriately shaped for solid and semi solid foods. In blender you may have to use liquid but in a food processor there is no need to use any liquid.

Waring Blender and Osterizer, the reputed global brands, were once upon a time synonymous with mixing but to day there are innumerable manufacturers of mixers or mixies as they are commonly called. Many of them are copies of western models though they are supposed to process Indian foods with characteristics totally different. One of the most noticeable features in Indian made mixies is the relatively low power motors used which are not sturdily built but serve the purpose of a typical Indian kitchen. Like all machines made in India, the quality of materials like steel, rubber, plastic parts etc used for making mixies and the finish of the final product need considerable improvement. As there is not much of R & D being done, new models being put out have only marginal improvements. Probably the manufacturers of kitchen appliances must form a cooperative organization to carry out research on design and fabrication and such R & D set up can be on a PPP model with fund sharing by GOI.

What applies to mixies is true with regard to other appliances like gas stove and the accessories, pressure cookers, cooking utensils, toasters, baking ovens, microwave ovens, etc. Durability, convenience of use, energy economy, ease of cleaning, user safety, etc should be the guiding parameters in designing and fabrication of these appliances. Is it not a paradox that the house wives to day do not have any means to monitor the gas level in an LPG cylinder where as we are aspiring to send man to the moon? With limited time available to the nucleus families of to day for cooking, it is the bounden duty of this nation to make their lives less arduous and more meaningful by evolving diverse kitchen appliances, suitable for Indian foods, that require less time and physical stress.


No comments: