Cooking up a storm!

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Meet Instagram star Shanthi Ramachandran


In today’s web-fuelled world, you can now get recipes for your favourite dishes at the click of a button! Indeed, a new generation of passionate silver foodies have taken to Instagram and are winning hearts with their recipes. Like Shanthi Ramachandran, whose account @shaanthram has close to 40k followers. In an exclusive interview with Harmony – Celebrate Age, she shares her online journey.

You’ve gained tremendous popularity on Instagram in a short period of time. What inspired you to get online?

In 2015, when I took a sabbatical for my daughter’s delivery, I had a lot of free time and decided to join Instagram. In fact, my daughter signed me up to post a photo of my sour apple pickle, which she liked very much. Before I joined Instagram, I was active on Facebook, where I posted recipes that received much appreciation and many ‘likes’ from friends, family and colleagues. As a working woman, it was a stressbuster for me after a long and hectic day at work. The likes and comments I received were like therapy and motivated me to share my own easy recipes to beginners. So, I would say it was on Facebook that I found my hidden passion.

Many silvers still shy away from the Internet and social media. Why do you think they should get online?

I have been a member of many Facebook groups that were dominated by people over 50 or 60 and it was quite easy to address a crowd and write on such pages without any hesitation. We never had this kind of exposure before and it was never easy to showcase one’s talent to the outside world. However, in this era of the Internet and social media, everything has become so much easier and more accessible, including sharing one’s hidden talents or passion. When everything is a click away, why should we shy away from it? After all, age is just a number if you want to pursue your interest, isn’t it?

What has been your most popular post so far?

It was the post where I wrote about my first meeting with my super senior customer, Mrs Janaki, one of the most inspiring individuals I have met. Despite being really old and in need of financial assistance, she went out of her way to help people in need. The post received a lot of appreciation through likes, comments and DMs. In fact, it received over 2k likes! Some people were even asking about her and wanted to help her out financially. Again, it’s proof that #ageisjustanumber. The write-up was just about human values and relationships. Having worked in a PSU and dealt with public relations on a daily basis, I strongly believe in such relationships because service to mankind is service to god. Though I worked for a salary, it gave me immense satisfaction that I had the opportunity to help people, especially senior citizens, in many ways. Apart from this, my food posts under the hashtag #breakfastnlunch have been super hits as well.

Please name three key ingredients that you cannot do without while cooking.

For any South Indian ‘Tambrahm,’ it is uppu (salt), puli (tamarind) and perungayam (asafoetida). Of course, the main ingredient is love!

What is your take on organic food?

While we can say organic food is the best, it is sold at such exorbitant rates that it is unaffordable for most people. However, it is good to use products free from chemicals and pesticides wherever possible. The best way is to grow the greens, herbs and vegetables in your version of a kitchen garden in the available space. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your own organic food at least once a week. We have a small terrace garden at our place, where we grow some of our favourite vegetables and herbs.

Please share some tips with our silver readers on how to eat healthy and retain their appetite. 

Reduce your intake of rice and don’t forget to include healthy greens, at least once in two days. Have plenty of vegetables either in the form of salads or steamed vegetables with fewer spices. Include more black cumin, black pepper, cumin, fenugreek, coriander seeds, carom seeds and ginger and less chillies, tamarind, sugar and salt in your food. Regularly including dried neem flowers, sun-dried Turkey berries, nightshade berries, curry leaves, gooseberries, mint and coriander in your diet will clean up your stomach and increase your appetite without any side-effects. Use minimum amount of pickles and oils. Don’t forget to drink more buttermilk and lemon juice—of course, without sugar. Water is good for digestion; so drink lots of it, even when you don’t feel thirsty.

Photo courtesy: Shanthi Ramachandran
March 2019