Biji (Grandmother) ka Tadka

Ranveer Brar

Focus on the vision for a better future through generational learnings.

As we begin the final countdown to Earth Hour 2023, I am thrilled to join WWF-India as the Goodwill Ambassador for Earth Hour India 2023 and take the cause further.

Food is a conversation each of us has several times a day and we often need to realise the significance it holds for us and for the planet.

Food is a skill and an art. We can do so much with so little. My initial years were spent acquainting myself with food in my hometown Lucknow, be it cooking at the langar, enjoying different cuisines at my neighbours’ homes, exploring the street foods of Lucknow or having conversations with the local grocer.

As I continue to cook and hone my culinary skills, I am consistently inclined towards bringing that Tadka and wisdom that my grandmother (Biji) would add to her cooking. Biji always came up with fresh ideas of using up almost every part of a fresh ingredient, woh melon seeds ki panjiri ka swaad muje aaj tak yaad hai.

Talking about “Sustainability”, it can be hard to define, as it means different things based on the context in which it is often discussed. However, the concept is much more than a trending buzzword.

The most frequently quoted definition was put forth by the U.N.’s Brundtland Commission on sustainable development in 1987: “Sustainable development [meets] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Growing up at a farm, concepts like organic food, Farm to Fork and sustainability were a part of our daily lives. Coexisting with nature leads to a holistically healthy ecosystem, more so in the food chain.

The concept is simple. If you take more than you give, in this case, the soil, it will automatically lead to an imbalance. We must remember the need for sustainability; we owe this to future generations.

With my heart belonging to my roots, my intention has always been to help my viewers reflect on how simple and uncomplicated cooking was in the past. And with this, to bring light on how similar it can be today.

This Earth Hour, allow me to take you through my journey towards adopting sustainable food habits and ideas on avoiding food wastage. To begin with, there are two accessible practices that each one of us can embrace.

One, we must stop rejecting “Ugly” food, i.e., food with a blemish or an irregular shape, because it will eventually rot and get wasted.

Second is adopting the ''Root to Fruit'' cooking method and look at unprocessing our pantry as much as possible, which will lead the path towards sustainability.

This Earth Hour, while we switch off all our non-essential lights, let us cook one dish that our grandmothers used to cook, using the ingredients that we would generally waste today – “pickle or chutney of the vegetable skin, for eg’'

This would be a good way of going ‘'beyond the hour" this year.

Join me at 8:30 PM on 25th March as we ‘switch off’ for the planet!