Thane, Dec 30 (UNI) One among the five brothers in Mahabharatha, Bhima was a very good cook like Nala. This has been revealed in a technical paper presented during a national seminar organised here by the Institute for Oriental Study, on its Silver Jubilee celebrations based on the theme - Innovations and Inventions in Ancient and Medieval India.
The paper, titled ''The art of cooking - A glimpse in ancient India'' presented by Dr Lalitha Kuppuswamy from Daulat Ram College of New Delhi University at the conference, revealed about Bhima being a good cook.
Her paper was among the two dozen papers presented during the seminar, for which Institute President Vijay V Bedekar was the chief guest. The briefed the scholars and researchers about the work of the Institute for the past 25 years and appealed to them to take the work around the globe.
Two characters in Hindu ''Mythology'' are great cooks. One is Bhima and the another is Nala. Bhima is believed to be the first to have cooked the famous dish ''Aviyal''.
In Dr Kuppuswamy's paper, she has stated that the practice of fine arts was a regular feature in the cultural life of Ancient India.
Among all the domestic arts, none can stand in comparison with this art of palate. Generally, housewives practice this art with skill and vigour,'' the paper stated.
Art of cooking has been practised even by men. Bhima and Nala were experts in this art. Nala had the extraordinary power of cooking without fire.
She pointed out that Nala in his book ''Pakadarpanam'' had written that the guardians of the quarters Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuna sent Nala as a messenger to princess Damayanti with marriage proposal. Pleased with Nala, the deities conferred on him various powers and Nala utilised these powers in making different dishes and writing them in his book ''Pakadarpanam'' for humanity.
Dr Kuppuswamy further said that Charaka emphasises that the three pillars of good health are food, sleep and self control. The food becomes the most important ingredient. The art of cooking without the loss of nutrients, food intake in proper time and in proper manner are important for being healthy.
''We come across interesting details on defects of food, preparation of soups with different pulses, preparation of dishes from vegetables with their nutrition contents, various types of sweets dishes, varieties of curds, chutneys, dishes according to seasons etc. The day from sunrise to sunset is divided into six parts and the first part is assigned as spring and the last as winter and the food according to the season,'' she said.
She termed the art as very scientific and suggested ''The cook has to have certain qualifications. Birth in the same country, self control, soft spoken, knowledge about various materials, place and time etc. He has to wash his hands and feet before cooking.
Cooking has several advantages in improving quality, digestibility and palatability. At the same time, cooking in a wrong manner can reduce the nutritional contents. We find various devices to keep the dishes cool and free from spoiling due to heat.'' According to her, ''Satisfaction of hunger is not the only primary criteria for adequate food intake. For sustaining healthy and active life, diet should be planned on sound nutritional principles.
The most striking feature of ancient culinary is that it was based on a sound base of well balanced diet because the base of food preparation is based on Ayurveda - balance of Tridoshas, she added.