I realize I am saying nothing new, but we as society are in a state of flux; only thing is , it keeps bending westwards every now and then. I know its "one world" and all that, but while our contribution to the west (besides zero, ayurveda, yoga et al) consists of plenty of words from the vernacular English, grudgingly declared English by the Dictionary mafia (pucca, balti,doosra), we continue to be completely smitten by Western concepts, and behave accordingly .
I just came across this post, and cannot agree and empathize more with the author of the post. Globalization does not mean blind mindless aping of western standards, and icons. There are plenty of nice British things than mince patties and Yorkshire pudding. Paris certainly has more to give than frogs legs as a delicacy, Japanese culture can teach us so much more than sushi, but the cake is taken by our fashion designers, who , in a mindless aping of Milan designers, exhibit Indian Fall and Winter collections, in cities and metros, which have not had a Fall and Winter in the last several centuries. (Not that the Summer collections are anything out of this world, and I have yet to see a decent Monsoon Collection designed for leaping into buses with a dripping umbrella, while fighting a crowd of 15 people).
I was just wondering if it's all about descriptions, that really markets something, and should we be paying attention to fancy detailing of ordinary food to make it stand out as International cuisine.
Phulkas : Special organic wheat flower, stone ground, and personally mixed into a specialised dough, which is then rolled delicately on marble rounds, roasted on virgin iron griddles, and then allowed to bloom on a raw fire. Quite the toast of the party. Done right at your table and served with golden ghee. Melting Moments on contact .
Khichadi : Organic coastal rice, sometimes from the banks of the Ganga, soaked with broken green mung snug in its green proteinous cover, then drained, steeped ,stirred, and cooked to perfection with a whiff of cloves, hint of cinnamon and whole pepper corns , curry leaves straight from our backyard tree, curcumin (precursor to turmeric) to boost your health, all this with a lashing of ghee. (Served with our home specialities : crunchy roasted dry lentil rounds, and yogurt in personalised clay pots from Bihar.)
Bharli Wangi : Despite sounding Far Eastern, this is a signature dish from the Western Maharashtra. Fresh organic Baby Aubergines, ( stuffed with a blended mouthwatering mixture of shredded coconut, roasted sesame powder, onions, capsaicin-rich jalapeno-like chillies, crunchy coriander and roasty cumin mixtures, six different specialised Garam spices, with a hint of the sweetness of a trickle of jaggery) sauteed by our finest chefs in thick iron specially designed utensils, inspired from two centuries ago.
Soul Kadhi : Yo! Intentionally misspelt, milk of human kindness - coconut milk, as the shreds of the coconut, sacrifice themselves, over and over again, immersed in boiled filtered double purified Ganges water, blended and strained to a rich creamy perfection. Stained and spiced by organic kokum, freshly dried in the summer on cane mats in the coastal backwaters. Delcately spiced with garlic,cilantro and green chillies. Served ice cold in champagne flutes. Viva Sol Kadhi ! Kadhi for the Soul.
Khamang kakdi : Forget the dark Green variety of the humble cucumber. "Khire" is the variety we grow ourselves and use. Found only in India. Tiny pieces, marinated in salt, groundnut powder, cryshed green chillies, pinch sugar, lashings of lemon juice, crowned with a sizzling oil cumin asafotida dressing designed to heat and cool your taste buds simultaneously. Makes a great pair with Khichadi....
Batata wada : Macdonalds copied us, and then messed up. The original filler. Boiled mashed potato, dressed in tingling, mouthwatering spices, blanketed by a layer of light spiced porous garbanzo paste, fried to a brilliant golden brown, to match our golden summers . Can be eaten by itself, with organic relishes, chutneys, Indian salsas, as well as enclosed in pao, our organic answer to the "burger patty".
Aamras : "If there be heaven, this is it, this is it, this is it." We didnt say this, K. Gibran did. Straight from the home of the Alphonso Mango, from our own specially nurtured organic orchards, mangoes picked by experts who live there. Mango squeezed by hand, straight into a container, untouched by juicers and blenders, the slow mixing of juices and mango lumps, poured into a chilled bowl for you. Traditionally squeezed in holiday season by children in families, after removing shirts and tees, due to the danger of exciting juice stains spraying across. Our esteemed guests get to take the tablecloth home, should we create a mango stain while juicing the fruit.
And I havent even reached chutneys, pickles, and sweets and snacks as yet. The meaning of chutneys has been duly changed by the British, ever since the went back after Independence. We would like to get the original meaning back.
And our pickles are never greenish stuff in colorless fluid, that looks like cucumber pieces taking anti aging treatment. Pickles here, are more like a bhangda flamenco, that offers an exciting spicy kick.
..........................(Lady swathed in chiffon bends over to talk to someone in a Dolce and Gabbana sari, oblivious to her pearls dipping in the Sol Kadhi....)
"You mean you've never had a phulka ? Dont tell me you haven't yet been to the Blooming Wheat cafe ? Where do you live ? And what about batata wadas ..... no its nothing to do with tapas.... that's old stuff; I am surprised you dont patronize Shrikrishna Wada's; it's the In-place currently.
I'll let you in on a secret.
One of my nephew's wife's sister's, brothers in law, works with the WHO. And so we learn lots of things from him, are very concerned about all this mad cow disease , mercurified fish, SARS, viral bird flu stuff. And we get to hear about things before anyone else does.
Another uncle works at the National Institutes of Heath in Washington, and he sent us the food pyramid graphic.
Turns out, eating vegetarian is the answer. Unlike cows eating weird feeds, fish fainting in polluted seas, and chicken and birds playing truant at mealtimes, you can decide where to plant your veggies, and how to grow them....better still , how to cook them.
Of course we actually think the NIH got inspired about the pyramid, after seeing our Modaks....
This looks Yum !
Lunch, anyone ?