In his sparsely furnished home in the Cholamandal Artists’ Village, with huge canvases of red and green suspended from the ceiling for the paint to dry, artist V. Viswanadhan insisted that I try white tea. This was many years ago, when the green tea task force was just gathering strength, talking up the many curative properties of antioxidants. “White tea is far healthier,” he said, explaining how he sourced this minimally processed version from a friend in the Nilgiris. “Not many know that yet.” I had never been a tea-drinker but finally accepted a cup and was surprised by the absence of bitterness. In her column this week, tea expert Aravinda Anantharaman makes pretty much the same point about white tea, while describing its smooth richness.
Many of the stories in this issue are about such little-known heroes in the world of food. Mushrooms are one of these, until recently offered only as an alternative to paneer for vegetarians. Over the last few years, however, the world of mushrooms has expanded beyond the little white button variety used in curries to all sorts of fungi that can not only be consumed but also turned into vegan leather and eventually, health supplements and medication.
Entrepreneurs and scientists are working together to discover the potential of mushrooms, as our cover story explains. Another often ignored source of nutrition is colocasia or taro leaves, which, as another story points out, are best picked during the monsoon and are used in a variety of regional specialities.
While the focus of our food stories has been the lesser- known, our critics revisit performances that have been in the limelight for a while, bringing new perspective. Raja Sen reviews the Ms. Marvel series in its entirety (most early reviews were based on the first two episodes), pointing out its flaws and its sharpest moments. Jai Arjun Singh draws parallels between Shirley MacLaine’s debut performance in The Trouble With Harry and her latest in Only Murders In The Building. The Lounge team shares the books, podcasts, music and products they have tried and loved in the past week.
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