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Traps as treats: a traditional sticky rice snack persisting in rapidly changing Asian kitchens.

Schwallier R, de Boer HJ, Visser N, van Vugt RR, Gravendeel B - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2015)

Bottom Line: Minimization of this effect in current transitional cultures could be met by placing value on the maintenance of heritage-rich food.Harvest of pitchers does not appear to decrease the number of plants in local populations.Social media proved a valuable tool in our research for locating research areas and in interviewing respondents, and we endorse its further use in ethnobotanical investigations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Darwinweg 2, 2333, CR, Leiden, The Netherlands. rachel.schwallier@naturalis.nl.

ABSTRACT

Background: An accessory to modern developing economies includes a shift from traditional, laborious lifestyles and cuisine to more sedentary careers, recreation and convenience-based foodstuffs. Similar changes in the developed western world have led to harmful health consequences. Minimization of this effect in current transitional cultures could be met by placing value on the maintenance of heritage-rich food. Vitally important to this is the preservation and dissemination of knowledge of these traditional foods. Here, we investigate the history and functionality of a traditional rice snack cooked in Nepenthes pitchers, one of the most iconic and recognizable plants in the rapidly growing economic environment of Southeast Asia.

Methods: Social media was combined with traditional ethnobotanical surveys to conduct investigations throughout Malaysian Borneo. Interviews were conducted with 25 market customers, vendors and participants from various ethnical groups with an in-depth knowledge of glutinous rice cooked in pitcher plants. The acidity of pitcher fluid was measured during experimental cooking to analyze possible chemical avenues that might contribute to rice stickiness.

Results: Participants identifying the snack were almost all (96%) from indigenous Bidayuh or Kadazandusun tribal decent. They prepare glutinous rice inside pitcher traps for tradition, vessel functionality and because they thought it added fragrance and taste to the rice. The pH and chemical activity of traps analyzed suggest there is no corresponding effect on rice consistency. Harvest of pitchers does not appear to decrease the number of plants in local populations.

Conclusions: The tradition of cooking glutinous rice snacks in pitcher plants, or peruik kera in Malay, likely carries from a time when cooking vessels were more limited, and persists only faintly in tribal culture today because of value placed on maintaining cultural heritage. Social media proved a valuable tool in our research for locating research areas and in interviewing respondents, and we endorse its further use in ethnobotanical investigations. Our gathered data urges for the preservation of sustainable, tribal plant use for the prosperity of both health and culture.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Presentation of glutinous rice snacks prepared inside traditional packaging in Sarawak, Malaysia. At the Kampung Duyoh roadsite market, sticky rice was prepared inside Nepenthes ampullaria pitchers (right) and within the leaf and culm of bamboo (Bambusa spp.) (left).
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Fig4: Presentation of glutinous rice snacks prepared inside traditional packaging in Sarawak, Malaysia. At the Kampung Duyoh roadsite market, sticky rice was prepared inside Nepenthes ampullaria pitchers (right) and within the leaf and culm of bamboo (Bambusa spp.) (left).

Mentions: Like these, Nepenthes pitchers offer a charming folk packaging that protects the food and has an appeal unmatched by synthetic vessels (Figure 4). In line with their attractive presentation, participants and social media identified that the glutinous rice snack filled inside pitchers were often served to celebrate Ramadan, election parties and harvest festivals. When limitation of serving vessels might otherwise prohibit larger gatherings, pitchers offer an option to feed many people at one time. Nepenthes pitchers are convenient, biodegradable containers. In an age in desperate need of waste reduction and resource conservation [42], containers like these are a great solution to a growing environmental global problem. Edible packaging trends as one of the top innovations that will change our lives [43], and the buzz around Wikipearl™ shows that consumers desire options that are more eco- and health-friendly.Figure 4


Traps as treats: a traditional sticky rice snack persisting in rapidly changing Asian kitchens.

Schwallier R, de Boer HJ, Visser N, van Vugt RR, Gravendeel B - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2015)

Presentation of glutinous rice snacks prepared inside traditional packaging in Sarawak, Malaysia. At the Kampung Duyoh roadsite market, sticky rice was prepared inside Nepenthes ampullaria pitchers (right) and within the leaf and culm of bamboo (Bambusa spp.) (left).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4374397&req=5

Fig4: Presentation of glutinous rice snacks prepared inside traditional packaging in Sarawak, Malaysia. At the Kampung Duyoh roadsite market, sticky rice was prepared inside Nepenthes ampullaria pitchers (right) and within the leaf and culm of bamboo (Bambusa spp.) (left).
Mentions: Like these, Nepenthes pitchers offer a charming folk packaging that protects the food and has an appeal unmatched by synthetic vessels (Figure 4). In line with their attractive presentation, participants and social media identified that the glutinous rice snack filled inside pitchers were often served to celebrate Ramadan, election parties and harvest festivals. When limitation of serving vessels might otherwise prohibit larger gatherings, pitchers offer an option to feed many people at one time. Nepenthes pitchers are convenient, biodegradable containers. In an age in desperate need of waste reduction and resource conservation [42], containers like these are a great solution to a growing environmental global problem. Edible packaging trends as one of the top innovations that will change our lives [43], and the buzz around Wikipearl™ shows that consumers desire options that are more eco- and health-friendly.Figure 4

Bottom Line: Minimization of this effect in current transitional cultures could be met by placing value on the maintenance of heritage-rich food.Harvest of pitchers does not appear to decrease the number of plants in local populations.Social media proved a valuable tool in our research for locating research areas and in interviewing respondents, and we endorse its further use in ethnobotanical investigations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Darwinweg 2, 2333, CR, Leiden, The Netherlands. rachel.schwallier@naturalis.nl.

ABSTRACT

Background: An accessory to modern developing economies includes a shift from traditional, laborious lifestyles and cuisine to more sedentary careers, recreation and convenience-based foodstuffs. Similar changes in the developed western world have led to harmful health consequences. Minimization of this effect in current transitional cultures could be met by placing value on the maintenance of heritage-rich food. Vitally important to this is the preservation and dissemination of knowledge of these traditional foods. Here, we investigate the history and functionality of a traditional rice snack cooked in Nepenthes pitchers, one of the most iconic and recognizable plants in the rapidly growing economic environment of Southeast Asia.

Methods: Social media was combined with traditional ethnobotanical surveys to conduct investigations throughout Malaysian Borneo. Interviews were conducted with 25 market customers, vendors and participants from various ethnical groups with an in-depth knowledge of glutinous rice cooked in pitcher plants. The acidity of pitcher fluid was measured during experimental cooking to analyze possible chemical avenues that might contribute to rice stickiness.

Results: Participants identifying the snack were almost all (96%) from indigenous Bidayuh or Kadazandusun tribal decent. They prepare glutinous rice inside pitcher traps for tradition, vessel functionality and because they thought it added fragrance and taste to the rice. The pH and chemical activity of traps analyzed suggest there is no corresponding effect on rice consistency. Harvest of pitchers does not appear to decrease the number of plants in local populations.

Conclusions: The tradition of cooking glutinous rice snacks in pitcher plants, or peruik kera in Malay, likely carries from a time when cooking vessels were more limited, and persists only faintly in tribal culture today because of value placed on maintaining cultural heritage. Social media proved a valuable tool in our research for locating research areas and in interviewing respondents, and we endorse its further use in ethnobotanical investigations. Our gathered data urges for the preservation of sustainable, tribal plant use for the prosperity of both health and culture.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus