Tuesday, March 4, 2008

an affair with food

My love for good food is known far and wide. This passion is fuelled by the various restaurants than my parents and I dine in. I have and (hopefully) always will appreciate good food. Whether it’s egg and pav from a shack or bruchettas from little Italy. Good food always revives me. There is no better rejuvenator than a bowl of hot boiling soup. Sadly now though there are very few people who actually eat their meal and enjoy it (however small it may be).
The world we live in has been divided into two kinds of people. There are those who eat to live. That is there food to them is only a source of sustenance. Then there are others like me, those who live to eat. For us the gastronomic wonders of the world are something that we wish to taste each and every day of the year. We are passionate about what we eat and are willing to try out new options. Till date my fascination for sushi hasn’t gone, something that my mother will never let me have. I want to try out all the cuisines that are there in the world. From the Mexican paella (do accept my sincerest apologies for misspelling the names of any of the dishes. Will try to correct it in the future) to the Swiss fondue. From a clear soup to a tom yum. From prawn cocktails to wantons and momos. From sashimi to rotlas served in the Gujarati thali. From tiramisu to gelatos and jalapeno filled deserts (don’t be shocked, I really had it in some restaurant and it was very very nice). Yes, I want to taste the various tastes that the world has to offer and experience all of them and enjoy some of them.
The world is but a gastronomic palate. There are more culinary wonders than u can count. I haven’t been able to taste the culinary creations around the world, but I try to make it up by watching a lot of food and travel shows. My favourite remains Anthony bourdain. I absolutely adore this guy. He is so adventurous when it comes to the arena of food, something that I’ve always wanted to be but never really been able to carry out to the extent that I would like to. He tries out some of the most disgusting stuff that you could ever lay your eyes on and still appreciates it if he likes its taste. He is open to all kinds of taste and never restricts himself to a particular kind of food.
Another program that I like is hell’s kitchen. Gordon Ramsey (forgive me for any misspelling) is so good. The way he abuses the participants is just too good to watch. And the way that he orders them around to create the absolutely perfect concoction is real fun. I love watching this show as well.
Drifting away from food shows and coming back to food, good food can be anything. Right from the puchkas that one gets in the gullies of Calcutta to the kakori kababs from itc grand Maratha Sheraton.Good food is anything and everything that pleases my aesthetic senses of taste and aroma. Aroma is a very important aspect of food too. You generally smell the food before eating it. But then aroma can also be misleading. Take the case of the durian, which smells so bad that u feel suffocated. But it is considered to be one of the tastiest things that a person has ever tasted.
Food can act as an anti depressant as well as an accompaniment for joyous occasions. Food is something that is always successful in uplifting our moods. Take the simple soup for example. Even a cup of hot steaming broth can arouse our senses and give us a feeling of well being. The world is rebound with tastes to entice and lure our taste buds. Flavours range from piquant to mild, sweet to salty, hot to soothing. Playing with these flavours not only rejuvenates our senses but also heightens them. A food connoisseur is actually able to distinguish between the various ingredients present in the dish presented before him/her.
One movie which I especially liked was ratatouille. The movie gave an important message- anyone can cook. Right from a humble rat to a chef of a very big restaurant. Well ...that may not be actually possible but it most definitely is an incredible idea.
People generally consider food to be just a source of nutrition and overlook the fact that they are actually works of art. The best way to a person’s heart is by bestowing him/her with good food. The world doesn’t give food the credit it should get. I like the way that the French and the Italian eat their meals. They actually spend time with their food and enjoy it. With diets becoming the latest fad, enjoying scintillating tastes and smells have become a lost art. Even something as simple as macaroni with cheese sauce can provide a feeling of happiness that no amount of drug or alcohol will ever do. People have forgotten how to enjoy food. And being a food lover I hate to see the state that the relationship between food and people has reached today. People eat because they have to and not because they love to. In the fast paced world that we live in today, people do not spare much time to think about the food they eat. As long as it is edible and healthy (read salads), they are willing to have it. Dinners and lunches have become more about the people and less about the food. With the acute deficiency of time that the people of today face, time spent over a meal is usually spent catching up with friends and loved ones or carrying out some business transaction. Meals are no longer considered to be the time where one actually spares some thought over what they are eating.
The senses of taste and smell have greatly diminished over the years as the time spent over a meal has decreased with each passing second. There are very few connoisseurs of good food today. There is even lesser number of people who do it for the love of food rather than for the food and travel shows that they host of the good food guides that they write. Which also bring me to these good food guides.....a person’s taste is distinct. These good food guides tend to overshadow our own judgement about what we like and hate. I think that people should instead venture out and try and find out places which appeal to their senses rather than sit at home and decide a place to eat at after looking into one of these guides.
I am writing this article at the risk of sounding like a foodaholic.....don’t really know if there’s a word like this but I’m sure you must have got the message I was trying to convey, but the flavours and aromas offered by the world around me never ceases to amaze me. The world has enough flavours to hold your attention for a lifetime and more. The world to me is but a big restaurant which has spread out its branches all over the globe, offering a different and absolutely (hopefully) delightful concoction wherever you go, whenever you go.
So, get your knives and forks out and dive into this wonderful world that I’ve learnt to appreciate and enjoy.
signing off
waiting to savour more flavours from around the world
the rambler

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