Looking back from India, it’s amazing the kinds of things we (Americans, Europeans, others) take for granted each time we’re in the kitchen. I had one of those moments the other day when I was roasting peppers. The peppers had steeped in a bag and their scalding skins were ready to be peeled off. However, I was unable to do my usual trick of running them under cold water while I peeled them because I was could not be sure that my sink water was safe enough to ingest.
That has been the conundrum each time I want to cook. Vegetables must be soaked in a solution of distilled water and bleach and/or vegetable wash for 20 minutes, then rinsed, before they are ready to eat. I eat salad here, but it’s not as ubiquitous at my dinner table as it was in the States. If I want to cook pasta (which is often), I have to hope that there’s enough water in the distiller to fill up my pot. Of course, the boiling process probably kills the bacteria, but you never know. I’d rather do the extra step then end up bedridden for a week. It’s not that big of a deal – the hardest part is remembering.
I’m in a fairly nice neighborhood, and I still have to worry about bacteria in my water. Now imagine the sort of water the other 999,100,000 people in India, as well as millions more around the world, have to live with. Most aren’t even lucky enough to have a tap.
My two cents.