Kitchens in modern homes have become more of a showcase to flaunt the imported crystals and cutlery rather than a place to cook and serve the goodness of home cooked food because more and more people in cities like Cochin prefer to eat out all through the day! Hard pressed on time, the working couples in Kerala find take away packs and dining out as the most convenient options to satiate their hungry cells. From the small and simple Thattukadas at every nook and corner of the city to the sweeping multinational food chain outlets like KFC and Dominos and the North Indian paav baaji vendors on push carts, there is something special for everyone in this city. But how many of us have ever tried to find out what is cooking behind the scenes of the flashy interiors and glossy menu cards filled with rhyming yet strange and incomprehensible names in almost every language in this world!
This incident that happened a fortnight back in my neighborhood was an eyeopener for me. When a young doctor, who was a psychiatrist in a city hospital planned a dinner out in a posh mall, he would not have thought that it will be his last supper! The young couple accompanied by their kids went to their favorite restaurant in a latest mall in the city, well known for some of the flashiest outlets. While the doctor chose mushroom dishes, his wife and kids opted for something different. The dishes were served piping hot and were decorated tastefully. The doctor savored his favorite delicacy, sharing jokes with his family. After a fulfilling dinner the couple was driving back to their home at Thripunithura when suddenly the doctor who was behind the wheels felt exhausted and weak. Soon he was rushed to the nearby super specialty hospital, where he breathed his last due to mushroom poisoning.
Mushroom poisoning happens due to the ingestion of wild mushrooms after misidentification of a toxic mushroom as an edible species because of their close resemblance in terms of colour and appearance. Even highly experienced wild mushroom gatherers fall victims to the poisonous effects of toxic species, despite being well aware of the risks.
Many of us do not seem to ponder deep beyond the chic and stylish Italian or French names of these delicacies. So, before you choose dishes that you are not familiar with, spare a thought at the risks involved. Better still, make your kitchen your favorite dining place to ensure a safe, wholesome and nourishing meal at a fraction of the cost that you shell out at these high end eateries! If not anything else, you will not be risking your lives!