Dr Hector Perera London
I was living in a boarding house near Punchi Borella, near All Saints Church when I was in Colombo doing Advanced Level science, that was a room only basis accommodation and we had to get our meals from outside. In the boarding house there were two of my friends also attended to the same private college, Stafford College to do advanced level science. We were in the same class sometimes sitting on the same desk. To begin with we tried so many options, getting parcels and packets of lunch and dinner from nearby hotels.
Sometimes I cycled day and night, rain or shine to hotels in Borella to buy lunch packets from nearby hotels. Honestly when I got home then opened to eat, the appearance didn’t appeal to eat, it looks like all mixed up, lost the appetite. Then for some time we used to get our meals from neighbouring houses. That was not bad at all, nicely laid out on plates but we decided to try and cook something in the boarding house. There was no kitchen as such but a part of the wide passage at the end of the row of rooms was enough for the purpose. First I tried to cook inside the room but the curry smell went all over the room.
Nothing like trying to get it right
There is nothing like experimenting so we started to cook something by adding this and that then only realised it’s too hot or mild or bland. Then by trial and error found the way to cook something edible. We never thought about energy saving and cooking smell given out while cooking. We thought cooking aroma given out while cooking was quite normal. We used a double ring kerosene cooker. That time a gallon of kerosene was just one rupee and that home delivered by a man with a bullock cart.
Like our servants at home, we also opened the boiling curries and stirred and tasted for salt, not just once but several times. In the meantime we got showered or covered with curry smell but we never understood it as a problem because we never knew any better. In the boarding house, cooking was not a problem as we shared the work and cooked our meals early morning before we went to college. Those days college finished around 1.30 pm unlike the present time. When we came back after college, there was enough to eat or eat as much as we like unlike in hotels. One thing before we went to college we had a good shower so there was no problem of curry smell on us or on the clothes. We done cooking outside the rooms so that no cooking aroma got into the rooms where we kept the clothes.
Exams are not team work like football games
When the results came, I didn’t get selected to do any course in the University but three of my friends got selected to do medicine then they left the boarding house. As I said I didn’t pass all my Advanced level subjects so I didn’t get selected do medicine or even to any other University course. Sometimes only as a group we studied together at the boarding house but sometimes I didn’t joined them. I still remember one of them told me, he studied until 1.00 am or even late. Two of my friends were so close, both studied very hard and both got selected to do medicine. They were so close, one of them got married to one of the friend’s sisters.
Energy saving ideas are not spring chickens
Any way I found a teaching post in the same college to teach chemistry and physics practicals. After a while I moved to England to do my further studies then only I had the problem of cooking in a room where I have to do all my work. To my surprise there was this abandoned kitchen used as a storage so later on I started to cook there than cooking in the room. I had no problem of cooking because I knew how to cook but not avoiding smell or energy saving basis. Then gradually I found the way to cook by cutting down the smell and energy used for cooking so my ideas are not spring chickens.
I had a hard time and now I want to help others
Once I found the method to cut down food smell depositing on me when cooking then I thought about the wastage of energy, the two things went together. That time I was attending Kingston upon Thames Polytechnic. Now the status has changed to University from Polytechnic status. As a student, I must say money was too tight so I really wanted to spend less money on energy. I had to insert coins to get electricity for heating and cooking. As a University student, I had these problem of cooking food that is why now I want to help the present and future University students. Unless you wanted something done, you will not find out how to get over that problem.
Only when I had to study as a University student, I had to do all my normal things such as studying, cooking and sleeping in a single room then only realised the problem of cooking smell. Of course if one is rich enough, there were plenty of places to buy or rent but as a student, I just had to manage very difficult. Occasionally I also had takeaways but the oily and salty nature of the food didn’t appeal me very much. As a Sri Lankan, I preferred to eat rice and curries at least few times a week than eating any oily, salty junk takeaways. I know it for fact they are unhealthy and sometimes they even serve rotten or stale food.
As a Sri Lanka student
The lunch had to be taken at the University canteen like everybody else but I prepared something at the boarding place for supper. Back home in Sri Lanka we ate nothing but rice and curries but pasta, spaghetti, noodles, pies, baked beans, burgers, sausages and all the other oily, salty junk things that normally eaten by other students in the University. I am sure they had no choice so they depended on takeaway food. I had this problem when I cooked rice and curries because the curry smell deposited on my clothes. This was at the start before I started to cook in the kitchen but the curry smell could not be avoided. The smell was in the air but didn’t deposited on me or on my clothes because I knew how to handle due to long experience. Those molecules escape with high kinetic speed but once they hit any cold surface, they lose the energy and the oily drops deposit. Believe me, just feel the wall, kitchen surface and the kitchen cupboards to see if they are sticky. It took a while to understand how to cut down or stop the cooking aroma depositing while cooking. I think this is another reason why those University students do not like to cook. Which University students would like to attend the University smelling like Tandoori chickens? To begin with I had to spray with scents, colognes and after shaves to cover up that smell on me and on the clothes before I attended the lectures at the University.
Now my energy saving cooking is officially approved
Even when I found the way to cut down smell and save energy, the others didn’t want to know because that time it was not accepted by any authority but not now. I explained the scientific energy saving cooking to The Sustainable Energy Authority in Sri Lanka with respect to an actual cooking demonstration but not by just words only. A whole team visited our accommodation in Colombo to witness this scientific energy saving cooking. Just by talking only one cannot properly understand the technique, scientific terms and conditions. It has to be explained with reference an actual cooking demonstration not just words. I must say the energy authority team was very impressed with my work of energy saving cooking. Then I showed them how to cut down any cooking aroma depositing while cooking. All my work was based on science but not just adding this and that without any scientific explanation. I have witnessed how some British TV chefs just cook without any scientific explanations. I had to use a few scientific terms such as intermolecular, intramolecular reactions, molecular fission, molecular fusion, thermodynamic equilibrium condition and few more to back up my kind of scientific energy saving cooking. How high temperature polluted the air to produce toxic gases, inhaling such toxic gases for a considerable time could bring about pulmonary, respiratory and cardiovascular problems. No wonder many University students do not like cooking but I can change it if they followed my kind of energy saving cooking. The team of energy authority even agreed that I was saving more than 60% energy wasted in cooking. I had to wait for years before I could get hold of the highest officials in the energy authority for official approval. I am so glad it paid off after all these years.
Rice, pasta and spaghetti are eaten by anybody
Actually my scientific energy saving cooking can be done by anybody, not just by University students. I know the problems as a University student and now I got over it that is why I wanted to help them. These students always eat nothing but takeaway food because they are totally unaware of making something simple at their accommodations. The basic things such as pasta, spaghetti and rice are eaten by anybody so they must know how to cook them first before knowing how to cook chicken curries or vegetable curries. Why not any University student unions invite me to demonstrate them to benefit the students.
There is a reward of £50,000
Dr Hector Perera
Dr Hector Perera