Undeterred by the slow response to organic food, S. Krishnadas is determined to create awareness on the goodness of natural ingredients
The smell of freshly baked cookies from a shed outside S. Krishnadas’ house on the outskirts of Tripunithura lures one towards it. In a tidy 10 ft by 10 ft baking ‘unit’, a batch of cookies cool as another batch of dark brown semi-globules goes in.
The no-fuss, clutter-free, functional unit churns out, besides cookies, cupcakes, bread and chocolates. Krishnadas started the unit around five months ago. Except for chocolates the rest are organic.
Krishnadas did his post-graduation in Chemistry from BITS, Pilani. He brings with him the experience of having worked in the food industry for 30 years. Family commitments brought him back to Tripunithura from Delhi. His experience aside, he did a month-long crash course in baking from the Karnataka Agricultural University in Bangalore.
He does not like slogging the organic tag, for he maintains that getting too caught up in labels might take the enjoyment out of food. He retails from a couple of shops dedicated to organic food in Tripunithura, one in Ernakulam opposite the Govt. Girls Higher Secondary School and from Alter Media in Thrissur. “People have not, completely, bought the organic concept. They want their bread and cookies to look pretty and stay ‘fresh’ for a very long time.” The staying fresh indefinitely part comes with the preservatives which he does not add to his products.
“The bread does not keep for days on end because I don’t add preservatives, but some people don’t understand that. Softness, gloss…people expect these things.” He alludes to set standards and expectations, in terms of taste, which people demand due to their exposure to the fare available. Even for cake or cupcake for that matter, atta does not rise like maida, therefore it has less volume and weighs more unlike maida.
His bread is made of wheat, “there is no sugar in it.” For the cookies he uses organic sugar, “the cookies had less sugar, but there was demand for more sugar so I added more.” He has had to tweak recipes to suit the palate. He put an almond on top of a batch of cookies which didn’t go down well with some customers so now he doesn’t. As far as experimentation goes there is very little scope, he maintains.
He points to a pumpkin creeper in his garden outside his unit. “That is the result of my experimenting with pumpkin cookies. The whole batch was sent back to me…pumpkin in a cookie is incomprehensible. Similarly for salted cookies.” As for a name, he used to call it ‘Nandu’s’ but not anymore. He used to package in small paper cones but he was asked to stick to plastic.
He has an assistant, a college student, who helps him with the baking. Work begins in full steam at 2 p.m. and goes on till 6 p.m.
The cookies are baked daily but bread only twice a week. He has suppliers in Kerala, who supply organic raw materials but there are times when production stops due to unavailability of raw materials. It is not easy, at times it seems to be an exercise in futility, but Krishnadas is determined to go on.
(Krishnadas can be contacted at 9388483394)