20 September 2006

Which brings me to Food Chauvinism.

I lived in different parts of India when I was younger, Jamnagar and Bangalore. As we are punjabis, we had primarily Punjabi cuisine at home. We ate Gujarati food at home sometimes and often at friends' homes or at functions. During my 'tenure' in Bangalore I fell in love with South Indian food. (sorry for the generalised term - all you southies, I am a northie after all :)). That was also the Golden Period of cooking by my mom. She would turn out pizza's with hand made bases, spaghetti with meat sauce (my all time favorite), stuffed capsicum, baked fish, prawns and a range of cakes you wont find in any bakery.

The point is, trying out the variety of food in home everyday makes you less of a food chauvinist. You are willing to try out a variety of food without hankering for a 'known' taste.

Once a driver from our office was required to drive a car down to Chennai and back. When he got back, he moaned all over the office about being forced to eat idlis and feeling sorely deprived of his usual roti. As I loved (sorry) South Indian food, I was amazed that he didnt enjoy the experience. Similary, after I got married I laid out a feast for my brother-in-law and his wife by cooking spaghetti and meat sauce. After eating the dish, my brother-in-law asked for rotis. He said he didnt feel 'filled up' by this food.

That made me realise that by staying in one place, eating just one kind of food turned people into food chauvinists. It happens even when people go abroad, they want to continue eating their own kind of food, even if does not suit the weather.

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