Tag Archive | f

History and Geography of food

I love eating. But mind you the food should be Indian and vegetarian.

No, it does not mean that I do not like My Pizzas and Pastas, I do. But I am much more comfortable eating Indian food.

Ever wondered why the same vegetables are cooked in different styles in our country.

Growing up I remember my Bengali neighbour cooking food in mustard oil and us cringing our nose in disgust. The smell of mustard oil is so strong. But the chorchoris, the gobhi fry were so tasty that Till date I like my gobhi fried in mustard oil only (provided that it is cooked by someone else in some other home 🙂 ).

Us being Mangaloreans love food cooked in coconut oil but in those days in Bhilai (that’s where we were in those days) coconut oil used to be very scarce and so was reserved to cooking for festival days. And those days the neighbours would cringe.

Our food is so very related to our location culture isn’t it. Most parts of North India use Mustard oil as a cooking medium because of its abundance there. Karnataka, Kerala uses Coconut and coconut oil in abundance because of its abundance there. Maharashtra and Andhra uses groundnut oil for similar reasons. Of course nowadays it is usually Sunflower/ Canola oil in most households for its health benefits.

In our home rice was the staple diet being a Konkani home. Rice in the form of dosas in the morning (and of course Coconut chutney), rice in the noon and night. But because I was born in the North I have this love for wheat too. I often wonder why it was so, was it because the five elements of Bhilai unleashed this love for wheat or was it because apart from rice, rotis too were a constant in our homes.

And then there are the sweets, I love the basundi of Maharashtra, the khajas of AP, the rasmalai of Bengal and of course the payasams down south made with rice, jaggery and coconut milk. Again it is to be noted that the sweets of the north will be milk based made with sugar and those of the south will have coconut in some form and will have jaggery. Usually that is. It is not that in the North there are no sweets made with jaggery and South Indians do make sweets with sugar.

But all said and done, food has a history no doubt but the fact remains that food cooked even with the most basic ingredients will taste heavenly if made with love.