An exercise in learning or grossing out? :-)
All my friends from India undoubtedly know about this. Not sure that the concept is very well known among my US friends though. I also have a question for my friends from other South Asian countries or African countries – do you have anything similar in your rural societies?
While in my birthplace, I took these pictures to explain to my daughters what those near circular black ridged cakes were all about. I barely got to the part where I explained that villagers pick up cow dung by hand and mix it by hand when the girls got grossed out and put their fingers on their ears and started yelling “la la la la”. 🙂
We call them “cow dung cakes” or “ghNute” in our language. Made entirely from cow dung, it is essentially formed by village women collecting cow dung and then making small balls of them and then smacking them on to a wall or tree. The ridges are basically the impact of the fingers when it is smacked down. It stays on the wall or tree for a few days to dry up and then they are plucked out.
They are then used as fuel for fires that are lit up to cook food – pretty much like we use wood logs. I guess this is a great form of biodegradable fuel 🙂