Of Food, Culture and Something Deeper

Cooking, I believe is one of the few things that dances on such a slippery ground around the fine line between Art and Science. There is so much chemistry and maths behind a well-executed dish. At the same time, it is a pure test of your sensory imagination to plate something that lights up your eyes and tastes divine at the same time. And add to that, there is this air of mystery around it when you consider all the starkly contrasting flavors that pair together resulting in pure decadence. Like Chocolate and Orange or Caramel and Chilli for that matter. And this is why I love cooking.

But the food world has gone a notch higher. It has transcended cultures across the world in terms of marrying different indigenous styles of cooking to different indigenous ingredients. So we end up with something like an Octopus Curry or a Beef Madras at one end of the spectrum and Paneer Stroganoff at the other. And the best part is that the food world continues to push the envelope to come up with dishes (pardon the sexual connotation ahead) that are an orgasm in your mouth. Granted that there may be a few wacky ones borne out of this mad experimentation like a Noodles and Garam Masala. But you have to applaud the effort that goes into the attempt to inculcate something so foreign into your staple. And everything tastes delicious!

And that is what the world needs to learn. The willingness to embrace things that are alien to us and that there is no competition or ranking. People are so caught up with the love for their religion, skin color (red bell pepper tastes as good as a yellow or a green one) and the boundaries around their piece of land (read as National Pride) that they have become oblivious to the reality that someone else’s might be just as good. There is no attempt to understand each other. If you can go as far as to mix Chinese cuisine with Indian spices, maybe you can try to understand the other person’s belief. If you don’t like it, you can avoid it. Most people don’t like Blue Cheese and you don’t ever have to try it again if you didn’t like it. But you cannot create a “Paneer is better than Blue Cheese” propaganda just because you don’t like it. Similarly, there is no ranking when it comes to a religion or a skin color for that matter. There are just preferences and everyone is welcome to stick to their own

It’s a very simple world where everyone loves a piping hot plate of delicious food be it a pasta, a curry or that Indo-Chinese fusion. Eat what you like, believe what you like and stop cribbing about what the other person likes.