"Cracking the Case of South India’s Missing Vegetables" Discussion Thread

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I read through this article and enjoyed reading it. I too am Tamilian living in Mumbai. Due to fast life here we too don’t buy or make these vegetables. I believe they need to be cooked in certain ways with some care and specifics. I am not aware how many of them are grown even now. I have seen and tasted some of the vegetables that you mentioned like Valli Kilangu, Murunga poo, Siru Kilangu etc during the times of Pongal here with local Tamil vegetable vendors. They taste delicious. Well I don’t know cooking much but my Mom prepares them in a traditional way as she was brought up down in South India. Its not that people don’t know about them but its that the generation now needs to be aware of those vegetables and made to eat them rather than pizza and other junkies. Thank you for this wonderful article.

Coincidentally my daughter and I had, just this week, been discussing the changes we see in produce being marketed here in the U.S. I have been aware for some time that fruit and vegetables were being hybridized, not to improve taste or nutrition, but to improve marketability - and therefore profit.

   Produce was being modified to improve the packing and shipping, and perhaps the longevity of the product, and to that end, to increase uniformity.  And now recently both my daughter and I have been a bit surprised to find our purchases were harder to chew!! Several things, like green bell peppers, or even cherry tomatoes were rather tough. Some others seemed to lack taste. A bag of nicely red radishes that had no tang or peppery taste. No taste at all in fact. I had noticed some years ago that the fruit available today does not often taste as it did in my childhood some three-quarters of a century ago.

  There are some instances, rather rare sadly, of the preservation of heritage seeds here, but there seems to be little concern. I fear we will be unable to turn things around if these few efforts are inadequate. 

   I have heard of no efforts to determine whether or or not available produce is any less nutritious but it seems that would be important to know.

   And - as an aside - I wonder if the same, or something similar,  is happening with our meat and fish supply.