Sunday, March 24, 2013

Traditional Easter Eats Around the World.

See what people in different countries serve in honor of the holiday. Symbolic or steeped in tradition, these culinary mainstays make Easter a front-runner of food-friendly holidays everywhere.   Happy Easter.

Hot Cross Buns
Traditionally eaten in the UK during Easter time, these little buns are flecked with currants or raisins and have a cross etched and/or frosted along the top. Many believe the tradition was started by the Anglo-Saxons, who crossed the buns to honor the four quarters of the moon. Now the cross is widely used to symbolize Jesus’ crucifixion. Photo: Shutterstock


“Paskha” means “Easter” in Russian, but it is also the name of this traditional Easter dessert. Made primarily of cream cheese and cottage cheese—foods traditionally forbidden during Lent—it’s speckled with dried fruit, molded into a pyramid shape and stamped with the letters “XB,” which stand for "Christ has risen" in Cyrillic script. Photo: Thinkstock


Breweries in Norway began making this special blend of “the best local beers” in 1934, but it met a lot of opposition from Christian groups. After World War II, however, the tradition picked up popularity and is still a common holiday brew today. Photo: Shutterstock

Red or Green Easter Eggs

Outside the U.S., the Easter custom of dyeing eggs (symbolic of rebirth and thus the resurrection) goes beyond DIY crafts. In Greece, eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ; in Germany, eggs are dyed green and exchanged on Holy Thursday, when other green foods, like veggies, are consumed, as well. Photo: Shutterstock

Paçoca de Amendoim

More commonly referred to as just “Paçoca”—not to be confused with the salty meat dish of the same name—this Brazilian Easter treat is made of crushed peanuts, sugar and cassava flour (and has a taste likened to the insides of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup). The easy-to-dole-out candy has long been served during holiday procession walks. Photo: iStockphoto


Especially in Spain during Easter time, one is likely to see elaborate chocolate sculptures called "monas" (first established during the 15th century in Catalonia) gracing displays. The figures and scenes, some of which can be seen at the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona, celebrate history and are more or less intended for entertainment. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Colomba Pasquale

Made of natural yeast, butter, flour, sugar and eggs, this traditional Easter loaf, commonly served throughout Italy, is known for its panettone-like flavor and distinct shape: a dove, which represents peace or Christ. Before being baked, the bread is coated with almonds and coarse sugar. Photo: Getty Images


In Scandinavia, this saltwater fish—which is caught during spring around Easter time—is enjoyed in one of many preparations: pickled, raw or cured. Traditionally, the delicacy is served on a bun or alongside rye bread, potatoes, sour cream and akvavit, a special-occasion Schnapps. Photo: Shutterstock


Thursday, March 14, 2013

For The People, By The People

Young Indian artists need crowdfunding, besides relevant lyrics, a distinct sound and a reality check,
but this is a great place to start. Whether it’s for a gig or a new album, a growing number of music
 enthusiasts are willing to lend voice and support.

Last September, close to 10 promising bands, mostly from Mumbai, took to the stage for their debut
show at Control Alt Delete, an event that was completely funded by its 600-member audience. Rishu Singh,  manager of bands such as BLEK, who coorganized the gig, claims to have raised a sum of Rs 95,613 on the crowdfunding platform Wishberry within a month, posting a daily update on the day’s collections on Facebook.

In fact, the Mumbai gig managed to get online contributions from Chennai, Gurgaon and even Washington. “We needed about Rs 90,000 to make the gig happen excluding the bands’ fee,” says Singh, “We finally  raised Rs 1,64,000 including contributions at the gate and each of the 10 artists got a fat, princely sum of Rs 7,000 .”

A crowd of contributors placing their money and faith in events like Control Alt Delete is in stark contrast to the other side of the coin: the frustrating reality where organizers and venues find it tough to draw audiences to gigs across the country.

American performer Amanda Palmer, who is one of the biggest success stories on international crowdfunding site Kickstarter [she raised $1.2 million within a month] wooed the crowd by offering everything from digital downloads to CDs, vinyl and even dinner and private performances alongwith a photoshoot with her band.

Though many attribute the early success of crowdfunding to initial euphoria, others feel it could be the beginning of an alternative movement against the money mintinglabels. Musicians, for their part, are only hopeful that this new online avenue will finally give them a voice. Whether crowdsourcing will help indie India is a matter that we will only find out in the coming years.