Tuesday, 16 October 2012


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All about food - on World Food Day

FAO logo

Today, October 16, is World Food Day (WFD). The United Nation's (UN's) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) celebrates WFD each year to mark the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945. It is an attempt to raises awareness and understanding worldwide of approaches to ending hunger, and to remind everyone of the need for a balanced and healthy diet.

Rowan Atkinson

"Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world" is the theme for World Food Day 2012, to highlight the role of cooperatives in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger. Rather than stick to that or any specific theme, we bring you a wide ranging assortment of questions that are related to food in one way or another - from the spheres of science, culture, lifestyle and current affairs. Enjoy this feast of questions!

1. Paddy (rice) is the dominant agricultural crop in Sri Lanka. According to the Department of Census and Statistics, the total asweddumized area of land under paddy cultivation in Sri Lanka in 2010 was 768,639 hectares. The next most widely cultivated crop was coconut (394,836 Ha in 2010), followed by tea and rubber. Among the cereal food crops, which was the second most widely grown in Sri Lanka, after rice, in terms of land use? (There were 57,620 Ha under this crop in 2010.)

2. Sri Lanka's Department of Census and Statistics conducts a large sample Household Income and Expenditure Survey once every five years which provides detailed insights and statistically averages of Lankans earn and consume. According to the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2009/10, which covered 22,500 households, what was the most widely eaten fruit in Sri Lanka? On average, every Lankan was found to eat 11.86 of these fruits.

3. This is a man-made crop developed during the 19th century by crossing wheat and cereal rye. It is probably the only new man-made crop in commercial production. The grain was originally bred in Scotland and Sweden. Only after the mid 20th century was it developed into a commercially viable crop. What is this cereal crop's name?

Mastering the Art of French Cooking - Volume I and II

4. She was an American chef, author of best selling books on cooking and one of the most popular television (TV) chefs in the United States (US) during the 1960s and 1970s. She is best recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (in two volumes, 1961 and 1970). Her cooking show on TV, The French Chef, started in 1963 and ran for 10 years on network TV across America, winning various awards including the first Emmy award for an educational programme. Who was she?

5. A small South Asian country announced plans in early October 2012 to become the first nation in the world to turn its home-grown food and farmers 100 per cent organic. They are ushering in a new official policy to phase out artificial chemicals in farming in the next 10 years, making its staple foods of wheat and potatoes, as well as its fruits, 100 percent organic. What is this country?

6. Slow Food is an international movement that seeks to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of local ecosystems. It was founded in Rome, Italy, in 1986 to resist the opening of a McDonald's fast food outlet near the Spanish Steps in Rome. The Slow Food movement has now expanded worldwide to over 100,000 members in 150 countries. Name the Italian who founded the Slow Food movement, who also set up the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, northern Italy, that tries to bridge the gap between agriculture and gastronomy.

7. Fast Food Nation is a 2006 American/British drama film directed by Richard Linklater. Through a dramatized story, it examines the local and global influence of the American fast food industry. The film was loosely based on the 2002 book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal which was an account of the evolution of fast food and how it has coincided with the advent of the automobile. Name the investigative journalist who authored the book, who also co-wrote the screenplay of the film.

8. The world's fast food companies are responding to the medical profession's strong criticism of adverse health impacts of their product. That, and the need to expand in new markets, has prompted McDonald's, the world's second biggest food outlet, to open all-vegetarian outlets in India from 2013. They hope this move will attract new customers in India, where they already have over 270 regular outlets selling Big Mac and other standard hamburgers. In which Indian city has McDonald's announced plans to set up their first all-vegetarian outlet?

Fast Food Nation- 2006
movie poster

9. The World Food Prize is an international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. It has been awarded every year since 1986 by an American foundation set up by Dr Norman Borlaug (1914 - 2009), an American agronomist, a father of the 'Green Revolution' and winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Name the Indian geneticist who received the first World Food Prize in 1987, for "spearheading the introduction of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties to India's farmers."

10. Gastronomy is the art or science of food eating, and one who is well versed in gastronomy is called a gastronome. Name the French lawyer, politician and gastronome who is now best remembered for these two quotes: "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are!" and "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star."

11. This 2007 Disney/Pixar animation movie opens with a TV show featuring Chef Auguste Gusteau, owner of the best restaurant in Paris, talking about his bestselling cookbook on TV, which proudly echoes his slogan: "Anyone Can Cook!" Taking that literally, a young rat from the French countryside arrives in Paris and tries his hand in cooking - and finds he is good at it. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant's new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite rat family's skepticism and the rat-hating world of humans. What is this delightful movie, which won the Oscar for best animation feature in 2007?

A paddy cultivation

12. "Please, sir, I want some more!" This is one of English literature's most famous lines, uttered by Oliver Twist, the lead character in the second novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1838. Oliver, an orphan, is sent to a workhouse at the age of nine where he and other poor children are made to work long hours and fed little. One day, the desperately hungry boys decide to draw lots, and the loser must ask for another portion of their paltry meal, a preparation of some type of cereal - it could be oat, wheat or rye flour, or even rice - boiled in water or milk. Oliver is randomly chosen. What was the generic name given to the food preparation that Oliver famously ask for using those words, for which he was immediately punished?

13. New figures released in early October 2012 by the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) show that information and communication technology (ICT) continues to grow worldwide, spurred by a steady fall in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services. The new data, released in ITU's annual report Measuring the Information Society 2012, rank an Asian country as the world's most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. Which Asian country now tops the global ranks?

14. The ITU's Measuring the Information Society 2012, ranks 155 countries according to their level of information and communication technology (ICT) access, use and skills. Of the 10 top-ranked countries, eight are from Europe. The two remaining countries come from the Asia Pacific region, with one of them in first place, and another ranked 8th. Which advanced Asian country, regarded as a global leader in electronics and high technology, has ranked as No 8 in ITU's ICT Development Index (IDI)?

15. A famous wit, this American artist spent part of his childhood in Russia whilst his father, an engineer, worked on the Czar's railway project. He later moved to Paris and subsequently settled in London, where he became President of the Royal Society of British Artists. Who was the man who used a butterfly emblem as his signature? Probably his most famous painting which he painted about his mother was the subject of 1997 comedy Bean starring Rowan Atkinson.

Last week’s answers

1. Cuban rebels
2. Alberto Granado
3. Walter Salles
4. Mexico City
5. Granma
6. Aleida March
7. Minister of Industries
8. Yahalakele Estate, Horana
9. Asthma
10. Steven Soderbergh
11. Alberto Korda (Real name: Alberto Diaz Gutierrez)
12. Kazakhstan
13. Marshal McLuhan
14. "Tears in heaven"
15. Adele

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