Friday, March 16, 2007

Got Milk...and Dung, and Urine

A vast majority of Indians living in rural areas do not have reliable access to electricity or petroleum-based fuel, but this doesn't stop them from cooking up feasts of delicious dishes.
60-80% of rural residents use cow dung as their principle source of cooking fuel. It's a cheap and fairly simple process that consists of collecting the dung (called "gobar" in Hindi), squishing it into patties, and leaving it to bake under the scorching Indian sun. Once the patty is dry, it can be used under the stove to make possible those scrumptious curries, samosas, and chai.
For those unaccustomed to this creative alternative source of energy, the mere idea of dung near food may cause queasiness and stomach upset. Luckily, many people on the subcontinent have discovered that cow urine can be used to relieve the symptoms of an upset gut. For example, to cure serious constipation, a dose of 10-40ml of filtered cow urine should do the trick. This may also help to kill worms and other parasites that your dinner may have left in your belly. Some even claim that cow urine is the answer to AIDS, cancer, and kidney problems. Holy cow indeed!
* A disclaimer: I am simply reporting the news and have never used cow urine. Pursue medical alternatives at your own risk.