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Tag line from a famous food delivery app -
RIP fridge - 19 min mein mile groceries itni fresh, toh fridge ka kya kaam hai
Quite a tagline! This started my brain cells into overdrive. How did our ancestors manage without a refrigerator? With the summer in full swing, we cannot imagine drinking plain water without ice cubes or a fridge cold water/juices/aerated drinks.
I went on a google hunt to get answers to my questions. Some I could find while some were revealed by my granny with a sly twinkle in her eye.
Once upon a time, water was stored in copper vessels or earthen pots making the water naturally cold. Not only was the temperature of the water just right but also it had a whole gamut of minerals dissolved in the water like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium - the right nutrients to manage electrolyte balance in this weather where perspiration and dehydration are so common.
Mats/basket from natural fibres
Vetiver roots, very common in South India, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh were used to make baskets, mats, beds, fans, hats and thatched roofs.
These roots have cooling properties and were used to impart coolness during the scorching summer heat of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to the people using them.
Nope they did not have an air conditioner, but vetiver served the purpose.
Also these roots were dried and added to their earthen pot with water. Drinking these root infused water makes the body alkaline, adding essential minerals and naturally cooled the body during the summers.
Fresh produce daily
Once upon a time, our ancestors used to grow their own food which were local to that area and seasonal. Fresh, organic vegetables and fruits used to be harvested daily for their own use and to sell the excess in the market. If ever there was a need to store, there were underground cellars that would maintain a cool temperature. Alternatively, baskets/bags made from jute, coconut fibres, and leaves were used to store the fresh produce.
Once upon a time, things were natural, simple and healthy. Nature provides everything, right from storage to eating the right food at the right season. The baskets which our ancestors used for storing earlier are being sold today at a very high price in the name of eco-friendly baskets/mats/containers etc. We are going back in time but at what cost???