KENDRAPARA: As people settle into a new lifestyle caused by the coronavirus outbreak, their eating habits have undergone a change for the better. In Kendrapara district, the lockdown has resulted in people going back to homemade healthy dishes in absence of junk food sold outside.
Many traditional food like various kinds of Pitha, Dalma, Dahi Kanji and Pakhala are now back in the menu of almost every household with restaurants, hotels, dhabas and roadside eateries closed due to the lockdown.
For Tapan Parida, a school teacher, the pandemic has weaned his family members away from non-vegetarian food due to scarce availability of fish, meat and mutton in the market. “Since sale of fish and meat has been regulated due to the restrictions, non-vegetarian food Pithas like Chakuli, Manda and Enduri besides Dalma have become a regular in our kitchen menu. We have completely stopped eating fried and junk food since the lockdown as all roadside eateries are closed,” he said.
Besides, with the rise in temperature, Pakhala has become the staple food for many families. “Several varieties of this dish like Dahi, Jeera and Basi Pakhala along with roasted vegetables are being regularly prepared in my house. During the weekends, we get to gorge on Manda and Enduri Pitha which are easy to prepare,” said Ajaya Samal, a retired college principal of Kendrapara.
With Pitha becoming the lockdown food of people, the age-old ‘Dhinki’ (wooden and stone grinders) have started running again in many rural areas.
Nalini Das, a resident of seaside village Jamboo, said, “It is not possible to walk two km to Chapali village during lockdown to grind rice. So I have started using ‘Dhinki’, which was lying unutilised in my house for many years, to make rice power for preparing traditional cakes.”
Womenfolk grinding rice with the leg-operated ‘Dhinki’ has become a common sight during the evening in almost every village of the district.