Truth Behind 5 Second Rule

Sourav “Teddy” Biswas

When the food we falls on the floor, reflexively, we think to pick it up. Only after picking it up do we introspect the consequences of our action: That wasn’t really on the floor that long, was it? How bad it can be after all? If the process of retrieval is fast, we assume the food is good. Most folks are comfortable eating food after it’s been on the floor. Thanks to the famous “5 Second Rule”, we are confident munching on  food off the floor as long as it gets retrieved within 5 seconds. This rule is now socially accepted everywhere, but recent studies conclude some shocking results.

Photographer: Harkin, Brian. Title: Food dropped on the floor can be contaminated with bacteria instantly, regardless of how fast you pick it up, a study recently concluded. Website: Dated: 19 Oct 2016

In 2007, researchers from Clemson University decided to see how well Salmonella Typhimurium (one of the two major types of salmonella that causes food poisoning), could adhere to bologna and bread after it came in contact with carpet, wood, and tile floors. The results showed that bacteria transferred immediately, and the longer the food stayed on the floor, the more bacteria it picked up. This both proves and disproves the idea of the rule: It shows that even a near-immediate grab doesn’t make the food safe, but it is true that the longer it lays there, the worse things get. Subsequent studies were made in following years by various Universities and all tests conclude the same result.

The real question here is; will eating that food off the floor make us sick or not? We all know bacteria is everywhere; even on the food we eat. Once again, these studies only proves and disproves the rule and not answer questions related to our health. The answer to this particular question depends on some variables.

Photographer: Williams, Greg. Title: Cartoon illustrating the 5 Second Rule. Website: Dated: 28 Oct 2016

The first variable is, what kind of floor we are talking about. Some floors retain more bacteria than others.  Outside our homes, it’s pretty obvious we’re exposed to countless forms of bacteria capable of causing immediate illness. Some studies suggests that objects like cell-phones and cash, carry more germs than a floor, which is transferred via our hands. This concludes the second parameter. Even before hitting the floor, our food might get contaminated due to our poor personal hygiene.

It’s impossible to fully rely on these studies because their experiments were conducted in a controlled environment. None of these proves for certain that the particular floor we’ve dropped our food on is germ free or not. In reality, bacteria can get transferred immediately to the food but, eating it after quick rescue doesn’t actually make us sick most of the time. So we keep doing it.




Great Indian Cuisines: Patthar ka Gosht

Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

An Indian feast. ||, Web, Nov 25 2016, India

India is known for a lot of things, not least, its sumptuous dishes. The land of the Himalayas has no dearth of culture, with 150 languages having a sizable speaking population (the total number of languages is placed at a staggering 1652). With a tradition spanning centuries, it’s not surprising to find that India’s cuisine is as diverse as its population. One can never say; “I’m gonna have some Indian cuisine tonight,” and be satisfied with one, for India boasts of  several; Mughlai, South Indian(which has a cuisine for each of its four states) and Awadhi, among many others. What’s special is that each of India’s 29 states has its own cuisine to boast of; some of them having more than one!

S.U.M  brings to you the first dish in its feature of Unique Indian Cuisine.
Pathar ka Gosht Recipe

Presenting Patthar ka Gosht! In Urdu, patthar means ‘stone’ and gosht means ‘meat’. The phrase, therefore, roughly translates to ‘meat cooked on stone’ in English.

Patthar ka Gosht served with Indian bread || by Shaharbano – own work, cc by -SA 4.0,

Yes, you read it right. This particular dish dates back to 19th century India in the Deccan region (present-day Hyderabad), ruled by the Nizams, the then rulers of Hyderabad State. Legend has it that this dish came to pass on a hunting expedition of the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahbub Ali Khan. The 18-year-old Nizam used to have his dining and bedding carried on elephants for all-time convenience. Talk about royalty! For the Nizam’s comfort, the royal chef found a slab of stone for special cooking purposes and cooked kebabs on it for the Nizam. The Nizam loved it so much that he ordered it to be cooked again on his return. And thus the peculiar dish of Patthar ka Gosht came into being.

Though this claim is unconfirmed by reliable sources, it has the same royal sound to it as other majestic whims of the Nizams. The dish is a roaring success in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when, in the evening after breaking the fast Muslims generally go into the streets to have a light feast.

Patthar ka Gosht being cooked at a roadside stall. || Photo by Ashwin Quadros,, Web, Nov 25 2016, India

Coming to its conception, PkG is prepared by first marinating the meat (beef and mutton are the preferred kinds) in various pastes and spices for around 5 hours.  Meanwhile, the stone used for cooking (granite in most cases), is heated by kindling charcoal underneath it for approximately 30 minutes until it’s hot. The right temperature of the stone is determined by sprinkling water on it: if the droplets sizzle on the slab, it’s ready for cooking. The meat is then placed on the stone slab and allowed to fry in the open. The fat and marinated paste from the meat sizzles on the stone and gradually evaporates. The meat is turned to the other side and vice versa till both sides are brown and crispy. The meat is then taken down and served with one or two Indian breads; Naan or Roti. The meat, thus slow-cooked, acquires a silky-smooth texture that simply melts in the mouth.

But times have changed. Today’s fast-paced life is making it difficult for old-school recipes to flourish because of their time-consuming nature. Restaurants are reluctant to allow such dishes in their original state, opting instead for stoves to light the stones. Their contention is that they would be feeding only 10-15 people a day if they chose charcoal over gas. Of course, old-timers rue this nimble change but the others… well, the others still swear by its unvarying novel taste.

BREAKING NEWS: Terror Strikes Paris Again At Orly International Airport

Sourav “Teddy” Biswas

Not even a year has passed since the horrific incident at Nice, when the city and citizens of Paris was terrorized beyond belief. This time it happened at Orly Airport In Paris, France. On Saturday March 18th, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, single-handedly caused a moment of havoc inside the international airport before being shot and killed by the French police.

Photographer: Thibault Camus. Title: Travelers on highway to Orly Airport. Website: Dated: 19 March 2017

Belgacem, a suspected Islamic extremist, attacked a French soldier and managed to take her firearm during the melee. Immediately, two fellow soldiers arrived on the scene and opened fire; killing Belgacem instantly before he could pull the trigger.

Photographer: Christophe Petit Tesson. Title: Police moving into position outside the airport. Website: Dated: 19 March 2017

The airport’s terminals were instantly closed. Authorities quickly sprung into action and began evacuating the airport right away.  Hundreds of passengers and flight crew were quarantined inside the planes that had just been landed. The French authorities described this as a 90-minute spree of destructive criminality across the French capital by Belgacem.

Ziyed Ben Belgacem was stopped earlier that day by Police in Paris’ northern suburbs for reckless driving.  After getting into a scuffle with the traffic officer, during the stop; Belgacem stole the officer’s gun and fired.  Fortunately, the revolver was loaded with bird shots and the officer only sustained non, life-threatening injuries to his face. Belgacem then stole a car at gunpoint and hurled to Orly’s International Airport’s South Terminal.

Photographer: Thibault Camus. Title: A woman with her baby outside the airport. Website: Dated: 20 March 2017

According to soldiers, Belgacem yelled: “Put down your weapons! Put your hands on your head! I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths, said Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins.

Approximately, 3000 travelers and airport employees were evacuated from Orly after the attack took place. It was reported that 13 flights were diverted to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Photographer: Unk. Title: People being evacuated from the Orly Airport. Website: Dated: 20 March 2017

The situation in and around Orly International Airport was gradually brought back to normal thanks to the French Police and the military of the Sentinelle Force. Suspicion of a second attacker was ruled out after authorities conducted a thorough sweep of the airport. Saturday’s attack further alleviated panic in France; now under state-of-emergency status, preceding additional attacks across the country resulting in loss of nearly 235 people since 2014.