Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Umpteen Books…..Countless stories….Over 1.27 billion experts…..
Indian cuisine is far from understood or grasped under any one umbrella. It calls for accuracy, precision, and practice to transform few simple spices into complex and vivid layers in countless permutations and combinations. Time is the testimony of techniques being evolved and accepted by the masses. It has traveled many a mile and years owing to experimentation and taken its present shape. Sadly, this evolution, I have to state, has ceased to exist; and now The few who try - have to struggle to be accepted.
Once upon a time, it was the pride of the Rajas and the glory of the Nizams.
Now it’s only the cooks pride / esteem and badge of honor of every housewife.
India has grown and Indians flourishing globally; but come food they are stuck in time. It is the Indians who haven’t moved on and evolved and still prefer their comfort dishes and are scared to try anything new. The skill of the chefs is never considered as creativity….they are only as good as the connoisseurs report card!!
Our society is always comparing - with some legend of the past. She does not sing as well as Lata Mangeshkar, Oh! He will become Sachin Tendulkar one day, my mom cooks better aloo parathas….!!! For a start those comparisons need to be curbed; and fresh ideas encouraged. Youngsters seldom opt to become chefs..they would land up in the profession by chance not choice (however that trend seems to be changing)
The remains of the tandoors from the Harappa and Mohenjodaro excavations and no different from todays versions….nothing has changed…of course change has to be for the better, but zenith is yet to be achieved.
Chefs are to be blamed as well, to tread a new path takes courage and has uncertainty , rather go with the flow and keep it comfort oriented. Every North Indian loves aloo parathas, many chefs would have earned a fortune writing a cookbook or demonstrating a recipe on one of the food channels. But never once have I read about which variety of potato is best suited for the stuffing! who cares... any will do!!. Which time of the year to get best mutton, or which cut of meat to use and why? Sadly the ingredient never gets the respect or the recognition. “I can eat liver if it doesn’t taste like liver….?” Spices can disguise anything; but should they !!!
The modern day Indian is living the most uptodate life…wearing Prada, driving the latest cars, not to mention the tablets and i-gadgets; but when it comes to dining out they would always want to revisit their rusty repertoire of favorites, and would be content with the same old classics that they associate Indian food with.
Everyone loves Classics be it in music, films, books or fashion...but they also dare to venture into the contemporary...Except the Son of India who will not betray his daal tarka 365 days a year….long live the Patriot!!