The Kitchen Fairy Godmother!

You are lounging in your favorite torn shirt( Don’t worry, we all have that one guilty secret we can’t part with!) ; your hair’s a mess and your face is even worse, but you just don’t care because it’s your lazy weekend. Your phone rings and OH-MY-GAWD, it’s the cutie from the office that you had prayed would ask you out. YES, it’s a date. You are busy hopping and squealing when you catch yourself in the mirror. You look like you been in a cyclone and a tsunami – a disaster of mega-scale proportions. You don’t have time to go to the spa and turn yourself in to the diva you know you can be.

The secret was in Cinderella’s kitchen! 😛

This is where you repeat to yourself the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe mantra ( DON’T PANIC! ) and head to the kitchen! No, not to grab a comfort bite but to unleash powers of the domestic fairy godmother to turn you into Cinderella! 🙂 And no, you don’t need to have the kitchen supplies of Nigella to do it either. Here are some simple yet ridiculous effective home remedies which are fail proof!

Let’s start with the exfoliating scrub. A spoonful of sugar is all you need. If you have sensitive skin, brown sugar works best. It will get the blood circulation going and give you a rosy glow to your cheeks. Also use it on your lips leaving behind a soft, rosy texture.

Now for that face mask. You have so many choices here that you can pick according to your skin type and your grocery list! 😛

  • Quick fix for your skin in 15 minutes
  1. Rice flour mixed with milk or curd : leave it till it’s semi dry if you have dry skin and fully dry if you have oily skin  and then wash it off while gently scrubbing in circles. We don’t know the science behind it but we do know it gives you an instant glow.
  2. Multhani Mitti or Fuller’s earth mixed with rose-water is a great astringent for oily to normal skin. Wait for the mix to dry and then wash it off.
  3. Besan or Gram flour with milk or curd : Leave it to semi dry and wash it off. Improves the tone and clarity of the skin.
  4. Lemon Juice : Just rub a squeezed lemon half  on your face and wait for 5 minutes and wash it off. Warning though, for some it may create a burning sensation but it leaves your skin fairer and clearer in minutes.
  5. Honey : This one is a cleanser+scrub. Gives your skin a beautiful sheen. Add a little lemon juice and leave it for 5 minutes and you’ll be radiating a fresh glow. Honey can be used as a minor acne treatment.
  6. Banana : Mash 1/2 of a ripe banana until creamy. Apply on face and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and cold water to close pores. Perfect for oily skin!
The real beauty of these ingredients is that they can be mixed and match to create the mask that’s perfect for your skin.
Well, you are half way there. Your skin is brimming with natural goodness and a soft rosy blush which would make your cutie check you out.. twice! Now we need to tame those wild tresses. Beer and egg are the most popular conditioners that everyone knows of ( but who wants to pour alcohol down the drain!). So we’ll be invoking the powers of mayo, coffee and honey!
  • Quick fixes for your stressed tresses

    For Shiny Hair!

  1. Mayonnaise : This is for all you people with dry frizzes. Smear generously from your mayo jar on to your dry hair (and not to your scalp)  and cover it with a towel or a shower cap. Keep it for about an hour or so before washing your hair with your normal shampoo and conditioner. You’ll be the owner of some marvelously deep conditioned hair and who would not want that! 🙂
  2. Coffee : Take some warm coffee and pour it through your dry hair. Keep it for about 20 minutes before shampooing it off. It’ll give your hair a rich, dark sheen.
  3. Lemon: Yes, this little bucket of citrus is turning out to be a beauty powerhouse. Lemon juice mixed with water used for the last rinse will give your hair the shine and bounce you see in shampoo ads! You can also use them to give yourself some blonde highlights. Just brush some lime juice to the parts you want to lighten. Sit in the sun until your hair dries. The lemon juice activates in the sunlight, causing your hair to lighten, so a hot and sunny day is best for this activity. Lemon juice highlights are usually temporary, lasting a few weeks.
  4. Honey : This is another natural highlighter. Mix honey into the water and use it on your for both lightening your hair ( again sunshine’s the key!) or adding shine to your hair.
  5. Baking soda: Mix in a little to your shampoo and not only will you remove dirt and grime from you hair it’ll also give your hair a shiny look.
Here’s another tip – always wash your conditioner or your last rinse with cold water.

Strawberry a day keeps the dentist away!?

Your hair’s fixed and your skin’s aglow. Now all that you need is to fix up your dazzling smile.  If you have some ripe strawberries,  mash it up with some baking soda and use this to brush your teeth. It’ll immediately clean up all the stains and you are all set to flash your pearly whites! ( ps: Catherine Zeta Jones swears by this!)

Now put on your little black dress and oodles of charm and you are all set, Cinderella! And You din’t even need a fairy godmother (which means no midnight curfew! 😉 )
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Book of the Month: A History of the World in 6 Glasses

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Unique Perspective of world history!

Must be the summer heat because we can’t seem to stop talking about liquids! So it just made perfect sense to pick up Tom Standage’s A History of the World in 6 Glasses. Honestly, the book surprised us. To begin with, the concept of charting the world history through how beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola are drunk itself is so unique and we confess, seemed fantastical. But Standage’s book turned out to be a crash course in ancient, classical and modern history peppered with stories that are relatable with our everyday life. After all who will not be able to understand the magical powers of beer bringing civilization together, or coffee being the stimulant for Renaissance? On the other hand, when we look at the fact that 3 of the drinks contain alcohol and the other 3 caffeine, it does makes sense how the world’s inspirations and influence would be traced down to the discovery or invention of these drinks!

The language is crisp and a refreshing change for a book loaded with (in any other hands would read boring) historical facts.But Standage does a brilliant job of keep it in the easy reading section. It’s the kind of book that one would enjoy reading while travelling, both stimulating and light ( just like any of the 6 drinks he talks about!!)

It’s the kind of book after which you would never look at your favorite drink the same way again! Here’s to quenching our thirst for knowledge and new horizons! Let all raise our glasses to that! 😀

Book of the Month : At Large and at small

If you do know this book, you must be thinking this is a very very curious choice for a book review for a food blog to feature. But then again, if you have read it you’ll also guess why quite easily. This collection of familiar essays by Anne Fadiman has two of the most passionate and well written prose about food; ice creams and coffee in particular! 🙂

Anne Fadiman

Essay writing has been, for the most parts, seen as the pain in the posterior  piece of writing that we all had to endure in school. It was only on introduction to Fadiman that we realised that it can be as polished as poetry, as complete  and whole as a novel and as delightful as a short story. Familiar essays are an even rarer form of prose and Fadiman has fine tuned it to a whole new level.  The tone is always personal, one to one making the reader feel like we are sharing an intimate conversation with a close friend; one whom we had lost touch and now getting back into the groove with. The language she uses has a surgical precision with which it evokes the images, yet the images are far from clinical; because the thoughts range from the intellectual to the whimsical. It’s the equivalent of a multi-flavored ice candy ( or as the Harry Potter fans in our team like to point out, like a pack of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean, but without the barf one! 😛 )

And her range of topics is eclectic to say the least. From  butterflies to penchant for

Who's not addicted to the pursuit of happiness! 🙂

fatalistic Arctic explorers to , like I’ve said, Ice creams and her obsession with Coffee. When you read the dedication itself  ( For Kim – Collector of Tiger Swallowtails, Emperor of Ice Cream), you know you are going to be reading someone who relates to food on a personal level. And when you read the essay on Ice cream, is when you realise how much.  In her own words, ” As far as I was concerned, a vote against Jef-Freeze Treats was a vote against ice cream and a vote against ice cream was a vote against the pursuit of happiness” , and we could not agree more!  But her essay is more than her personal viewpoint or stand for ice cream. It is also a meticulously researched article on the history of ice creams served with dollops of humor. You know you are reading a rare talent when you learn as much as you enjoy reading it.

The same can be said of her essay titled with startling simplicity ‘Coffee’. We love her ramblings through the by-lanes of literature to find the coffee addicts and her musings on which piece of literature could have been the results of a much caffeinated muse! 🙂

Delicious essays! 🙂

But what makes this book truly deserving of Zoinker’s ‘Book of the Month’ is the recipe for Kim Fadiman’s Coffee Kahlua Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream! (which also reveals why the title given at dedication is well deserved!) 🙂 Yes, you read that right, it is Liquid Nitrogen. For all food lovers who love to experiment with food, this is a recipe which takes it a notch up and blends the art of cookery and science of chemistry! No, we are not sharing the recipe. It’s for you to read Fadiman and find out! Trust us when we say this, you’d be surely in for a treat when you do! 🙂