A Few Words on World Hunger

According to National Geographic, the world population will reach the 9 billion mark by 2050 if the population in some developing countries continues to grow in the current trend. Other issues aside, one important question that we should ask ourselves is: will the planet produce enough food to feed so many by 2050?

While those of us that live in developed countries go about our business everyday having satisfied our basic needs, there are millions in other corners of the world that are starving to death, due to reasons often beyond their control – wars, natural disasters, and political isolation, just to name a few. Interestingly, the bulk of these people are responsible for producing the food that we so take for granted on our dinner table.  Anyone with half a wit can immediately discern the viscious cycle that this is going to cause. That’s right. Food-producers starve and die, which leaves less people to grow food; however, the planet’s population continues to grow regardless, which in turns demands more food that cannot be realistically produced because of the void left behind by the very food-producers.

We should do something about this.

It is, in my opinion, the inherent responsibiliy of developed nations to help those that have more dire needs than us. We should start out with children, because they are, however cliché it might sound, the future. Their survival will help ensure that the effect of the inevitable world food shortage will be minimal in the coming decades. It saddens me to see stories like this  (http://www.nu.nl/hongersnood/2574292/kinderen-sterven-paden-doods-afrika.html) popping up on news websites almost on a daily basis. This Dutch article talks about the fact that women and children are the most vulnerable in a famine;  some kids suffer permanent damage to their brains as a result of that, if they are lucky enough to survive the famine (or unlucky depending on your point of view).  UN’s World Food Program will contribute enough to provide for 2.5 million of those underfed children in the near future with the hope that more donations will stream in to alleviate the situation. This is just one example of course. There are dozens of other non-profit organizations that play an important role in providing aid to countries in need.

Nevertheless, donating money and food to the famished is effective only in the short term. Natural disasters such as droughts will continue to strike, often the same region and charity is simply not a viable solution in the long term. So we turn to science. There is an old proverb — ‘Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.’ — which I am sure most people have heard of before. This applies here as well. Charity can only go so far. At the end of the day, research and development will better ensure the sustainability of our food supply than continuing to give ‘fish’ to those who are hungry. Examples like water management, innovative seed technology and even education will go a long way in shaping a better prospect for their lives, and consequently our lives. This can only be done with our help.You will find one example here (http://www.albawaba.com/helping-nations-grow-crops-will-reduce-hunger-us-379013)

Give generously to those in need, especially to children. At the end of the day, you aren’t just helping them. You are also helping yourself and your future generations with growing and maintaining our food supply.

Advertisements

Italian starters – demystified

I am sure that there are a number of you Italian cuisine lovers out there who have wondered about the same thing. Why are there two different types of starters on an Italian menu, an oddity out of most other European cuisines. I decided to do some research on this topic, and for your convenience, I will attempt to give an explanation for each and what it traditionally involves.

1) Antipasti

To help you understand this, I shall break the word down. The Italian prefix anti-, in this particular case, means prior to or before, which is equivalent to the English prefix ante- (as in antechamber). The word pasti is the plural of pasto meaning a meal. So sewing everything together, we have pre-meal dishes. This is usually the first course (or first first course, rather) served in an Italian restaurant. It includes every traditional appetizer,  from salami or meat slices to caprese (shortened form of insalata caprese – a salad consisting of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves bathed in olive oil) with the sole exception of pastas.

2) Primi Piatti

primi piatti is the plural form of primo piatto meaning literally first dishes (in Italian, like in all the other Romance languages, the adjective almost always agrees with the gender of the noun). As the name subtly suggests, this course is the first course, or the starter of a meal, even though it is usually served after the antipasto, which is in fact not considered a part of the official meal.  The primi piatti menu consists entirely of pastas, which come in a myriad of forms such as ravioli, spaghetti, and penne, cooked in various ways to prepare your tastebuds for the main course – secondi piatti.