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Making Full Use Of Refuse

LUCKNOW: This Lucknowite went on a vacation to Kerala some five years back, where she saw a man eating food on leaves. She loved the idea as it was eco-friendly and exotic at the same time. Fast forward to 2011 and she has turned dishes made of leaves into an art. Her stall at Lucknow Mahotsav is drawing customers interested in something different for their dining table.

Garima Tiwari, the 'dish artist', if one may call her so, is selling dish wares made from discarded Areca Palm Nut (supari) tree leaves. The initiative helps her preserve the environment, that too in style. Articles at her stall include square and round plates, bowls, spoons, and even entire dinner set, all made from discarded leaves. "We collect leaves that fall naturally on the ground, spray wash them and then steam press the leaves in the desired shape and size. The edges of these plates and bowls are then trimmed to achieve the desired neat look before they are cleaned, sterilized, and packed,'' explained Garima.

If the response of Mahotsav visitors is anything to go by, Garima's effort is being appreciated. The demand is good as these wares can be used in microwave also and even kept in refrigerator. "The wares are simple and elegant option for keeping food. The best part is that they do not harm the environment,'' said Pushpa, a customer at the stall, who bought a dinner set of Rs 250.

Talking about her product, Garima said, "Since natural leaves are used, if one throws away the utensils, it would take only six to eight weeks for them to turn into compost naturally with no negative impact on the environment.'' The utensils are best for preserving cut fruits as they contain 70 per cent cellulose, which keeps the fruits fresh for a longer duration. The sets can also be used for holding gravy, hot soups, hot melted cheese, dipping oils, dips and salsa, she added.

IRCTC food stall draws crowds

Lucknow: For the first time, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) have put up a food stall in Lucknow Mahotsav. Their USP is fast food, which is easy to prepare and served at a cheaper rate. The stall has Chinese noodles, pav bhaji, chole bhature, burgers, panipuri, chat, tea, coffee, among other items, on its menu.

"There is tremendous response from the people here. It's because our food is hygienic, and is being sold at a comparatively cheaper price,'' said V K Bhatti, assistant manager, Catering. He added that the most-sought after food item is Chinese as it is the youngsters' first choice.

Assistant manager, Tourism, Devendra Menghi said: "The crowd is attracted as we have proper seating space too.'' Seeing the response, the IRCTC plans to come again next year.

Another food stall that has been added this year is that of Amul. From milk to ice creams, the shop has it all.

On Friday, a rise in the footfall was noticed. Families visited the Mahotsav in large numbers and after a shopping spree enjoyed the food. Later, many visitors stayed back for the Hasya Kavi Sammelan, scheduled for the night hours.