Friday, November 30, 2012

Just Another Ordinary Day

It was just an ordinary Friday. Nothing interesting happened. So, I'm not going to write much. I'm just going to post pictures of my students during their library visit. They just looked so adorable, acting so serious while writing a review of the book they were reading.

As usual (since this term, anyway) I have a class at 2 PM. So, I went to teach until 3.15, then told my students to go to the library. It was our Library Visit day. We stayed there until the break. Nothing special happened. And the students were rather excited, because after the break we were going to watch a movie.

My EC-5A Students




 In short, the class finished around 5.35 pm.

It was pouring outside. But, my girls and I went to MKG anyway. We had dinner and chatted about our plan to Bandung next week. Now, THIS is going to be a great fun. We keep counting the days until next Saturday. Maybe later, I will have a new, exciting story to share here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back Again

Hi all...

WOW! I'd just realized that it has been a year since I wrote the last post on this humble page of mine... Time sure flies. That means, it has also been a year I become an EFL teacher.

There are lots of things happened during my "sleeping" state. Bad, good, sad, and happy moments came and went into and out of my life. And where did those experiences leave me? Well, I'm still my dear simple self. Nothing changes much.

Okay, since it's my "first" time writing again since last year, I won't say too much. Just wanna say "hi again" and that "I'm back". Hopefully, I can write more often from this day forward.

Love,
Me :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

UNIQUE FOOD: BIRD’S NEST

Bird's Nest Soup
As you know, bird’s nest is a nest made by birds for their home. Only this particular bird’s nest is not made of twigs, dry grass, or mud collected by the birds and put on a branch of a tree. This is the nest of swallow or swiftlet birds (Collocalia fuciphaga). The swallows, which can only be found in the tropical coastal areas, usually live in dark caves. They make their nests from strands of their gummy saliva, which hardens when exposed to air. The nests are built by the male swallows during the breeding season over a period of 35 days. The shape is similar to a shallow cup and stuck to the cave wall.

The bird’s nests have been consumed in China as a delicacy for centuries. The nest is usually made into the all-known bird’s nest soup (yan wo). In Chinese tradition the nests are believed beneficial for human health. Many classical Chinese books that highlighted on health food mentioned that swallow’s nest was imported into China from the Southeast Asian Region since the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). This fact was also written by Joseph Needham in his book ‘Science and Civilization in China’, Book 3 Volume 4.

In Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the swallow’s nests are quite a big trading industry. We took example in Indonesia, where the swallow or swiftlet birds are known as “walet”. The swallow’s nest produced in Indonesia is known to be one of the finest qualities in the world. In the country most of the bird’s nest merchants have started to raise and breed the birds in house-like structures. Shelters are built to attract wild swallows or swiftlets to build nests inside them. These “house nests” are said to have much lower price compared to the “cave nests”.

There are several kinds of swallow’s nests sold in the international market. They are white nest, yellow nest, and the blood-red nest. However there are rumors of a rare type of swallow’s nest in Indonesia, only harvested on the island of Flores. It is said that the color of this nest is blue. Because of its rarity, this one type of nest is sold in price about five times higher than the white nest, which already considered to be the best quality.

Consuming the swallow’s nests is claimed to be very beneficial for our health. The nests are claimed rich with protein, calcium, iron, amino acid, and other nutrients. There are about 65% of proteins contained in it. Other substances included are moisture (10%), traces of fat (23.3%), and carbohydrates (0.8%). There are about 6% of amino acids contained in the swallow’s nest also.

Due to the amount of nutrients, consuming the nests is believed to be very beneficial for health, such as: to stimulate the regeneration of cells, to enhance cell-mediated immunity, to increase the resistance of an individual to X-irradiated damage, strengthens the functionality of heart, and to replenish strength and vital energy. For women, consuming the swallow’s nests is believed to be good for rejuvenating, restoring youthfulness and ensuring the glowing and wrinkle-free complexion.

But once again, the high demand on the swallow or swiftlet’s nests is risking the existence of the birds. Many scientists, recently quite concerned with the rapid disappearing of the swallow or swiftlet birds. They have found the reality in some of the caves where the birds usually nesting. The walls in those caves are completely abandoned. They could only find the rotted bamboo scaffolding left by the harvesters. Unfortunately, this does not stop the harvesters from following the birds to their new homes, so they can take another precious nest to sell in the market.

* Gathered from many sources.
* All pictures belong to their rightful owners. I'm just borrowing them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MAGGOT CHEESE (CASU MARZU)

Maggot Cheese? Yes, you’ve read it right. Have you heard about it? Or perhaps you might have tried this one unique delicacy. 



Maggot cheese, or in Italy known as “Casu Marzu”, is a kind of cheese popular in one region in the country, Sardinia. What makes this particular cheese different from the other kinds of cheese is that it is actually filled with live maggots or insect larvae. The term “Casu Marzu” itself means “rotten cheese” in Sardinian.

Casu Marzu originally made from the Pecorino Sardo cheese. Just like its uncommon appearance, casu marzu also has an uncommon and even extreme fermentation process that reaches the stage of decomposition done by the larvae. The larvae living in the cheese are the a larvae from a particular kind of cheese fly called Piophila Casei. The flies are intentionally let to lay their eggs in the cheese. The eggs, then hatch into transparent white maggots. However, sometimes, instead of waiting for the flies to lay eggs, the maggots or larvae are introduced to the cheese.

During the fermentation process, a piece of Pecorino cheese can be populated by thousands of maggots. As the larvae feed on the cheese, they break down the fats in the cheese by doing an advanced level of digestive fermentation. This process produces a unique texture and flavor to the cheese. The texture becomes very soft, and sometimes even very moist (liquid weeping out of the cheese). It is said to have a very strong, pungent burning taste. Sardinian people usually consume the cheese with Sardinian bread called Pane Carasau and red wine.

Then, how do they eat it? Well, some of the people usually remove the larvae from the cheese before consuming it. However, there are others who choose to eat it along with the larvae. For those who prefer to eat it with the larvae, a unique eating “etiquette” is used. They usually wear eye gear to protect their eyes. This must be done because the larvae have been known to jump up to 6 inches in the air, when they feel disturbed.
There is one thing that people who consume the cheese have to pay attention to. They must be sure that the maggots or larvae are still alive. Because if there are larvae found dead in the cheese, it indicates that the cheese has decomposed to a toxic state.

However, the production of Casu Marzu is actually violating the Italian hygiene regulations. The Italian health department apparently has prohibited it. The Casu Marzu is considered to be rather dangerous, because it can cause allergic reactions and risk of intestinal larval infection. There is a possibility that the live larvae can pass through stomach and actually live in the intestines. If this happens, the negative effects will appear, as the larvae attempt to bore through the intestinal walls.

Although Casu Marzu is prohibited, it does not stop the Sardinian people to buy the cheese, from a black market. Sardinian people already consider the cheese as high-value food. That is why it is usually only served for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and bachelor parties.

Care to try?

* Gathered from many sources.
* All pictures belong to their rightful owners. I'm just borrowing them.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CEKER (CHICKEN FEET) DELICACIES

Chicken feet are not an uncommon kind of food here in Indonesia. They can be cooked into many kinds of delicacy. However, for most people all over the world, chicken feet are still considered a strange, and rather “icky” food. But do you know that they actually own nutritional values? 

 The chicken feet or we Indonesians know them more as “ceker” is one of popular foods in the country. The chicken feet are usually cooked into many kinds of delicacy. Among many are soup, steamed and deep-fried. Most Indonesians even believe that giving chicken feet to toddlers can strengthen the toddlers’ feet. But mostly they love it because of its delicious taste.

Not only in Indonesia, chicken feet also considered as delicacy in many parts of Asian countries. We take China for example. Chicken feet are usually cooked as dish in dim sum cuisines. They are prepared in various kind, such as plain steamed, fried with a little spicy black bean sauce, and braised.

However, there are some people who do not consume chicken feet. Their reason is based on the hygienist part. They see chicken feet as dirty part, because, well, we must admit it is the feet of animal. So they feel rather disgusted by the idea of eating them. Well, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions.

So, is it really true that chicken feet are quite beneficial for human health? Chicken feet consist of the skin, muscle, bone, and collagen. Collagen is one kind of pliable and yellowish transparent protein of ligament. When affected by heat, collagen will melt into a rather thick glue like liquid. The main composition of chicken feet is the amino acide, which is the basic component of protein. Inside the amino acid, among many, there are glycine-proline, hydroxyproline-arginine-glycine. Chicken feet also contain calcium and several amounts of mineral.

So, with all the nutrients contained inside, we can be quite sure that chicken feet have their own nutritional values, especially for the growth of children. It is because the kind of amino acid; proline and hydroxiproline, and calcium are obviously needed.

Chicken feet are also good for treating osteoporosis.  All this time we only know that to prevent this illness is simply by consuming enough calcium. But calcium can only strengthen the outer side of the bones, not the inner part, which is actually the most crucial thing that will influence the strength of the outer part of the bones, formed by a substance called hydroxyapatite. This substance can be said as the food for the bones. And it comes from the animals’ bones, such as chicken, cow, or goat. So, consuming chicken feet, which naturally contain hydroxyapatite can help maintaining the strength of the bones.

Although now we know how nutritious chicken feet are, it does not mean we depend only on them to gain the nutrients we need for our health. Living a healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy foods and exercising, will improve our condition.

So, perhaps some unique and uncommon foods can be beneficial for us. What do you think?


* Gathered from many sources.
* All pictures belong to their rightful owners. I'm just borrowing them.