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The Health Benefits of Cooking in Terracotta Utensils

Suresh Kumar, hailing from a long line of skilled terracotta artisans in Rajasthan, brings with him a rich heritage spanning four generations. His father, Girraj Prasad, distinguished himself by winning a national award for terracotta craftsmanship in 2011, inheriting the family’s pottery expertise from his predecessors.

Suresh holds a steadfast belief in the health and environmental benefits associated with using earthenware. He passionately advocates that cooking in earthen pots promotes better health. Moreover, it contributes to a more sustainable environment by reducing the risk of various diseases.

During an exclusive interaction with The Interview World, Suresh Kumar delved into the legacy of his family’s pottery business, offering insights into how the Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma Yojana has empowered artisans and craftsmen like himself. Moreover, he emphasized the myriad health advantages of preparing meals in earthen cookware. Here, we encapsulate the key takeaways from his enlightening conversation.

Q: When did you start this terracotta business?

A: Our family has been immersed in our ancestral business for the past 60 to 70 years. Originating with my grandfather, it was later joined by my father, ensuring its continuity through generations. Engaging in this work brings us immense excitement and satisfaction, as it is deeply rooted in our tradition. Specializing in terracotta craftsmanship, we boast extensive experience in this field. In recognition of my father Giriraj Prasad’s excellence, the government honored him a national award in 2011 for his contributions. Our government’s unwavering support further encourages and promotes the advancement of our handicraft endeavors.

Q: What specific benefits does the Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma Yojana, implemented by the government, offer you?

A: The Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma Yojana, initiated by the Indian Government, aims to support and empower artisans and craftsmen belonging to the Vishwakarma community. This scheme encompasses artisans involved in 18 diverse trades, including carpentry, boat making, blacksmithing, and pottery, among others. Its implementation holds the potential to bolster our businesses. Furthermore, it reflects the Prime Minister’s aspiration for the Vishwakarma community to elevate their enterprises from local to global platforms. It’s commendable how PM Modi’s vision provides our community with the necessary impetus to thrive and excel in our traditional crafts.

Q: What is the total number of terracotta products that you have designed?

A: At our workshop, we craft a diverse range of products, spanning from petite trinkets to towering 10-foot sculptures. Take a glance at our showcased selection here, where you’ll find an array of items. From mugs and bowls to utensils and frying pans, we offer an extensive variety, including platters, storage jars, statues, water containers, and more. Our creativity knows no bounds. Nonetheless, we prioritize crafting items that not only make good business sense but also resonate with our customers’ preferences.

Q: What terracotta products are in the highest demand?

A: Seasonal needs drive consumer preferences. During the winter months, there’s a surge in demand for utensils. People always look for terracotta heaters and fireplaces in colder climates for getting warmth and ambiance indoors.

Terracotta planters enjoy popularity year-round, serving indoor and outdoor gardening needs. In winter, they bring greenery inside, while in summer, their porous nature regulates soil moisture and cools plants.

As summer approaches, requests for planters, gift items, and water containers rise. Terracotta decorative pieces such as sculptures and wall hangings offer versatility, adding warmth indoors in winter and rustic charm outdoors in summer.

Terracotta diningware like plates, bowls, and serving dishes are adaptable to both casual and formal settings. They excel in keeping food warm during winter and maintaining a cool temperature in summer, making them a preferred choice for year-round dining experiences.

Q: Do you also export your terracotta products?

A: Indeed, we’ve expanded our market reach by exporting our products to various countries such as Malaysia, Dubai, and Canada, among others. Additionally, Prime Minister Modi honored us by inviting to the G20 Summit. Participating in this prestigious event has brought us significant advantages. In particular, it has enabled foreign delegates to familiarize themselves with our products, sparking their interest in our offerings. As a result, we’ve witnessed an uptick in the adoption of our products in people’s everyday lives.

Q: What specific health advantages does the utilization of terracotta products offer?

A: Earthen pots and utensils offer numerous health benefits. Firstly, cooking in earthen pots is both healthy and hygienic. This is because cooked foods are easily digestible and retain 100% of their nutritional value, unlike when cooked in steel utensils, where approximately 93% of the nutrition value dissolves, leaving only 7%. Opting for healthy food choices can help prevent diseases. For instance, I have been consuming foods cooked in earthen utensils for the past 8-10 years and have not suffered from any diseases or fevers during this time.

Furthermore, cooking with earthenware provides additional advantages. Earthenware tends to be alkaline, which can help balance the body’s pH levels and support overall health. Additionally, cooking or storing food in earthenware containers allows trace minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium to leach into the food, enhancing its nutritional value and contributing to overall well-being. Moreover, high-quality earthenware utensils, made from natural clay, are free from harmful chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and other toxins commonly found in metal or plastic containers. This makes them a safer choice for both storing and cooking food.

Ensemble of Terracotta Products Designed by Suresh Kumar
Ensemble of Terracotta Products Designed by Suresh Kumar
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