Sunday, November 25, 2012

Food For Thought.

One man’s food is another man’s poison is the old adage. In India where the fast food culture is in its infancy the variety of dishes is a gastronomic delight to our senses. Here it is important to appreciate that like the tea ceremony of Japan having a proper meal is a mental state – “Vairagya” forgetting the problems of the world as you partake of the pleasure of delicious food. Lunch, Dinner or Breakfast is a serious affair the tingle of cutlery is a re assuring sound – that whatever the uncertainties of the world outride, food is not one of them. Food lies in the details, culture and civilization and it begins with a salad, a yellow lentil, curry, a small dish of curd and the quintessential rice, pickle and pappad. The completeness of the meal is what distinguishes an Indian meal with its nutritional value from the junk food containing high levels of calories, sugar and fat. It is not for those who are in a tearing hurry, who jump out of bed, shower run a comb, gulp coffee; grab the coat and dash to the metro. The modern idea of a quick business lunch is anathema – a festive sandwich – slapping some meat or cheese between slices of bread or a slice of pizza accompanied by Power Point presentation is taboo in Indian culture. The centrality of a proper meal is a squatter’s act of fat denial of the idea that work must inundate us with its pressing impatience. The western idea of a quick working lunch –sandwiched food between layers of office hours, compressing hunger into a task on the job list is frowned upon. Indians also prefer home – cooked food, it is what rescues culture from biology. The Tiffin from home is a complete meal and gives a sense that we have not left home to another world of five days a week and gives you an inner fulfillment.

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