Book: Bangla Foods and Recipes
Author: Rakhi Mandal - Researcher, Food & Recipes
The feeling of sweet taste to a human being is eternal. The taste of sweet is unparalleled. Among all types of taste sweet is the most appreciated and axiomatic to all. Many sweetish words are associated with sweets in the life of Bengali people.
Sweets and its taste are associated with Bengali culture and heritage. At the same time, sweet is the name of a particular food and a popular type of taste to all. Again it is the only taste that is used to compare with the facial appearance or beauty of human beings. We always use the term “sweet face” to define a girl’s lovely face.
Not only that, it is so heartwarming taste that so many Bengali people named their daughter as ‘Misti’. The English meaning of the word ‘Misti’ is sweet. We really do not find such acceptance of other taste in our society. Again it is a trend to have sweet at the beginning of any occasion or celebration. Bengali people cannot think about any occasion without sweets.
It is difficult to predict the actual time when people started to love sweet. A few days ago I have learned from the book “ManusherGolpo” by Ashfaq Ahmed that when the primitive people were wild they ate the fruit which was sweet so that any other animal or anyone else could not eat it. In this way, the attraction for sweet stuff has been derived in our genre.
A study states the human race was introduced with sweets while cave dwellers ruling the world in 8000 BC. But it was not happened in the region, in Valencia. After researching the cave painting of that place it is found that since that time the human race got that the honey in bee-hive was actually ambrosia and the honey was not needed to be made.
Apparently, the India sub-continent introduced the sweet first. The word ‘sugar’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Sharkara’ and ‘Candy’ from ‘Khanda’. Sharkara means refined sugar whereas khanda is unrefined sugar.
Bengalis are very attentive to the satisfaction of appetite and sweet is the big part of appetite satisfaction. Sweet is a satisfying food for Bengalis by birth. It is the tradition of Bengali culture to feed newborn baby honey just after birth. That is why Bengalis’ love for sweet is inherited. So, Bengali’s weakness for sweet is noticeable.
Sweet item is must in any program of Bengalis. A program without sweet remains incomplete. The types of sweet have been updated with the passes of time. In the past, guests were served first with batasa (one kind of sweet) and water. The body becomes refresh after taking batasa and water so the guests felt fresh.
It was seen that tired travelers started their journey to the destination again after having a refreshment with sweet and water. Sweet is not only tasty but it refreshes our body and mind.
Sweet is very sweetish. Sweet is a favorite item on our food menu. No program is complete without sweets. Water comes in the tongue hearing the word ‘sweet’. Apart from sweet taste or sweet food, some other foods are also the source of sweet taste. Now we will know about the story of sweet.
As a taste, the sources of sweet are sugar, molasses, misri, date trees juice, sugarcane juice, palm trees juice, sweet taste fruits, and fruits’ juice, etc. All these are sweet. The foods prepared with these, mixing with different ingredients are of sweet taste.
The preliminary element of the food which is individually known as “sweet” is also sweetish. The main three ingredients are sugar/molasses, milk, and flour. The dough of flour or various shapes of chhana/ chhena and flour are mixing with sugar and milk dipping in sugar/molasses juice is known as prepared ‘Sweet’.
Many reputable sweets shops have been established in Bangladesh considering sweet as a product. The category of sweets transforming gradually from laddu to sandesh to kalojam since ancient times has reached an industry level. Various types of sweets in various areas are popular all over the country for individual taste, color, shapes, and flavor.
It is good to eat sweet foods as dessert at the end of any spicy meal. There is no harmful impact on the body. The sweet diet was also popular for conducting many rituals and it was favorite to many religious representatives.
The Muslim community has a tradition of eating sweet after meals as the Prophet himself liked to eat sweets after the meal. Again, the sweets have an inseparable relationship with all the deities’ worshiped by the Hindu community.
Lord Krishna was very fond of eating dairy kheer. Lord Gautam Buddha ate payas/ payesh (sort of food made of rice, milk, and sugar- rice kheer) from a great woman named Sujata after completion of meditation on Bodhi. We must know the quality of sweets as these are so adorable to all.
A type of hormone named serotonin is released while we are having sweets. This hormone acts as a neurotransmitter. That is, eating sweet foods creates a feeling of happiness and joy in your mind. This feeling is very important for the overall wellbeing of our body.
Whenever we eat something, the acid begins to be released to digest that food. The acid releasing process is increased with the eating of hot, oily, and spicy foods increase. On the other hand, sugary foods reduce the process.
As a result, the digestion process can be completed properly. Besides, the blood pressure can be reduced after consuming a large amount of fried or spicy foods and taking the sweet foods that help to control the blood pressure.
Reader, we will now mention the benefits of some significant sources of sweets.
Honey is the most useful and has nutritious quality among various sources of sweetness. Honey is considered the most effective medicine in Ayurveda and Unani treatment. It is a wonderful gift from nature. The herbal quality of honey to protect the health and cure the disease is immense. In the Bangla language, we are known as Madhu
It is the medicine of curing disease the same as it is a potent, delicious, and good food extract. Therefore, all types of people from all over the world are using honey as an energy food and drink, as it is enriched with nutrition as food and medicine since ancient times.
Many of us avoid taking sugar nowadays. Interestingly, glucose and fructose are directly metabolized in honey and are not accumulated as fat. In an experiment with honey at the University of Moscow, it is found that honey contains aluminum, boron, chromium, copper, lead, tin, zinc, and organic acids (Such as malic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, and oxalic acid), several vitamins, proteins, hormones, acetylene choline, antibiotics, phytoncides, cytostatics, and other nutrients water (19-21%) and other elements. Vitamins such as Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, Vitamin B-1, B-2, B-3, B-1, B-1, Vitamin-E, Vitamin-K, Vitamin A, or carotene are present.
Honey is a drug that has anti-septic, anti-cholesterol, and anti-bacterial qualities. It is good to consume 2 teaspoons of honey keeping on the palate of the right hand with an empty stomach every morning and afternoon. The benefits of regular and moderate honey consumption are –
Molasses is a very circulating and popular source of processed sweets in our country. The molasses is prepared from sugarcane juice, apricot juice, and palm juice. The picture of radish molasses comes into our imagination talking about the popular drink Sharbat. The trend of eating puffed rice mixed with molasses is Bengali’s favorite. In the Bangla language, we are known as Gud. Bengali Has three types of Gud. There are-
1. Ankher Gud– ( which is made of Sugarcane juice )
2. Khejurer Gud– (which is made of Date trees juice)
3. Taler Gud– (which is made of Palm trees juice )
We recall about sweets and payesh made by Date trees juice just after the arrival of the winter season. This molasses is commonly used in sweet, cake, payesh. Besides, molasses is used to make Ayurvedic medicines. Current research says molasses is much better than sugar. Molasses can protect us from many diseases. Today we will know about the benefits of molasses.
Besides, molasses benefits us in many other ways. For example, It keeps the stomach cool, regulates blood pressure, eliminates tiredness, reduces fat, reduces shortness of breathing, reduces weight, and reduces joint pain. We can make molasses, which is so beneficial as part of our diet. Readers, what is your opinion?
We all know the abundant use of sugar in the preparation of various sweetish foods. It is also well known to fulfill the carbohydrate requirement in our body. Besides preparing sweet food, sugar has many beneficial qualities. If you know the usage, you can get these benefits yourself. In the Bangla language, we are known as Chini. Let us know today about the extraordinary benefits of using sugar.
Sugar has many benefits. The various benefits of sugar are discussed below.
But one thing to keep in mind is that eating too much sugar is not good. Excessive intake of sugar may the cause of the risk of diabetes, liver damage, cholesterol, weight gain, kidney disease, hungriness, and high blood pressure.
The Bengalis’ affinity with the sweet and the sweetish food is been for a long time. Sweet is a must at the beginning or end of any program. It does not seem that Bengalis feel such attraction to any other food. Dear readers we all love to eat sweets.
So before dipping our palate into the juice of sweets, I am trying to give you some information about sweets. So that, no barrier can hinder to get the taste of sweet knowing the benefits of it. Make sure sweets make life sweet, not sad. So, I request to develop a healthy diet limiting food intake no matter how tasty it is to have a healthy and disease-free life. We invite everyone to make a habit of healthy life to develop a healthy diet plan.