In bird flu-hit Assam, people get cakes from outside

December 30th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Dec 30 (IANS) Leilah Khan eagerly awaits her son’s arrival from New Delhi but not having seen him for a year is not the only reason for her excitement. This resident of bird flu-hit Assam is also looking forward to rustling up a meal with the chicken and eggs that her son is bringing.”We don’t like red meat and prefer lean meat like chicken and fish. But for over a month chicken has been off our menu because of the bird flu. My daughter, who has to have a boiled or fried egg for breakfast, has been cribbing ever since,” Khan, a homemaker, told IANS.

“It was my daughter’s idea to ask her brother to get some dressed chicken and eggs when he comes home for his vacation from Delhi. Now he is getting three kg of chicken and two dozen eggs. I asked him to boil the eggs and, without shelling them, pack them in a container,” she said.

Anand Sharma, a corporate executive who had gone to Mumbai for work, brought back a basket full of cakes and cookies for his daughter.

“My daughter loves chocolate cakes and cookies but with the bird flu my wife hasn’t been able to bake anything with eggs in it. Since I was going to Mumbai for work, I decided to get cookies and cakes of different varieties like chocolate, vanilla and plum. Needless to say, my daughter was thrilled!” he said.

Culling of poultry has been on in full swing in Assam after the outbreak of bird flu. More than 500,000 poultry have been culled in the past one month and authorities have banned the sale and consumption of poultry and poultry products.

With the virus being now detected and confirmed in 15 more villages, another 70,000 birds have been ordered to be culled.

For most of the people, this has affected their regular diet. Mothers like Ameiya Talukdar say that it is now a challenge to make her six-year-old son eat his meal.

“My son is very picky about his food. Although he doesn’t like milk and milk products, I was not worried because he loves eggs and has to have one in breakfast. Similarly, chicken made up for his dislike for fish.

“Now every day is a challenge for me since two of his favourite and nutritious food items have gone off the list. I have to keep using my creativity along with the recipe books to rustle up something interesting for him,” said Talukdar, a physician.

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