Traditional clay, iron, soapstone cookware make a comeback

Single-use food packaging is harmful to our environment — landfills and waterways are clogged with different types of food containers (mainly plastic).
Traditional clay, iron, soapstone cookware make a comeback

Chennai

What many are not realising is that most of the food packaging containers are dangerous to health. Considering its harsh effects on our body, Chennai-based cloud kitchen Vegiecroft Fusion is only using clay pots to serve their food including smoothies, porridges and biryanis. Run by Sidharth Jayaprakash Radha, an engineer-turned-home chef, Vegiecroft Fusion mainly serves healthy fusion foods. “I hail from Nagercoil and started this venture to serve healthy fusion food to people in the city. I also wanted to make sure that the containers in which we pack food shouldn’t have any adverse effect on the person or the environment. That’s when I decided to use only clay pots to serve food,” says Sidharth.
He cooks Malayasian biryani in a clay pot and packs the food in the same pot. “Smoothies, porridges and biryanis can be prepared in a clay pot. But for certain dishes, I use other cookware, but pack only in clay pots. There are umpteen benefits of clay pots — the important one is that they can retain all the nutrients in the food. Also, the food will last for a long time. After getting to know about my venture, many people are interested to buy our healthy fusion food. They are also surprised to see smoothies, porridges, served in clay pots. Some people reuse it for their kitchen purposes,” adds the young entrepreneur.
Serving food in clay pots to customers daily for a small venture like Sidharth’s is not a feasible option. “For eg, if I have 200 orders a day, I need to procure 200 pots in various sizes from artisans in Chengalpattu. I serve sauces, salads, etc, in clay pots only. Sometimes, I won't be able to get a huge number of pots. If the business increases and I have to make food on a large scale, I am not sure how I will pack them in clay pots. Because there is less demand these days, not many people make clay pots near Chennai. If the demand is more, the production will also increase," remarks the chef.
Kayal Vizhi Sriram’s husband runs a store that sells various organic products. She realised that even though they were giving organic food, people are not cooking it in the right utensils. "If we don’t cook in right vessels, we cannot retain the nutrients of the food. We started researching what all cookware is good for cooking. We started the venture Essential Traditions to sell handcrafted cookware like clay pots, cast iron kadai, soapstone, etc. We get queries about clay pots like if they will easily break, whether it is easy to take care of and so on. But once they use the products and get to know the benefits, then customers tend to buy more traditional cookware,” Kayal tells us.
She observes that after the pandemic, there is a surge in the sales of traditional cookware and artisanal kitchenware. “After the pandemic, people have become more conscious about their health. Most of them started following sustainable cooking practices.”

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