One man’s food is another man’s poison is a great English proverb, that rings in your ear every time you have a difference of opinion with another – within or outside the family. And it rings true in the literal sense if one were to match the cuisines of India with those of the orient which have now, because of COVID19 become rather famous. and metaphorically true too, in the pollical, criminal, or cultural world.
Food is a four-letter word like two others – hate and love! We hate to love our food – for if we have too much of it we die, and if we have too little of it we die. But we cannot do without it. We celebrate with it, make friends over it, and love after it! It is served when we are born, when we marry and when we die, and for every milestone that we cross in between.
Those who can rustle up a good meal whether in a restaurant, cloud kitchen, or at home are loved and revered, and this includes Dad’s / Husbands, but not moms / Wives – that’s their natural calling and also their original job profile, people think and wrongly so, if I may say so – though they naturally make excellent Chefs. Many believe that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – not his brain, but his esophagus. That is a sad way to describe man’s intellectual prowess though.
So, what should we eat? Well, this is determined by several factors – Availability, Price, and accessories necessary to convert raw produce into food, whether vegetable or meat.
Nutritionists tell us that the best foods to eat are the foods that grow/are reared in the region naturally and in abundance. Our food patterns are influenced by, but only partially, by immigration and emigration and it remains the Araldite of ethnic bonding.
Often, we want to experiment with something beyond our boundaries and make it our own staple diet and we end up harming our health – take the classic case of Rice and Chapati or Ragi and Rice. Our bodies are conditioned to eat what our soil grows in abundance and we should do that as far as possible, subject to of course, to the symbolism attached to the sources of the food by our heritage and beliefs!
When it comes to food, we live in a state of denial, especially if we live in the state of Karnataka. The State’s cuisine is as varied as its topography and demography and is loved all over the world! It is an evolution of a variety of influences since the Iron age. Already I can taste the Idlis, Vadas and Dosas of Udupi, the Mangalore Buns and seafood platters, and Kori roti of Mangaluru, the Pandi Curry of Coorg and the Benne Dosa, and Ragi Roti of North Karnataka.
Let me wash it all down with Buttermilk and enjoy my Chirotti and Mysore Pak. And no, I am not an anti-national! These are everyman’s sweets and nobody’s poison. Can never be!
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