There is hardly anyone who does not have a fancy for food and likes to watch weight. A few minutes each day are spent in every home discussing ‘what is cooking’? The strange thing is that our lives have changed so much when it comes to food that those living in cosmopolitan cities very rarely carry the tag of belonging to a particular place when it comes to eating!
I remember in my childhood, the breakfast would usually be a glass of milk and a sandwich and the school lunch box was a seasonal vegetable with paratha( a bread) and in the evening again a dinner of dal(lentil), rice and seasonal vegetable ,and curd. The routine would follow in a cyclic manner with an occasional sprinkle of pakoras, pooris,(fried pancakes) or idli/dosa (Rice pancake and savories). Burgers, Chinese food, Italian pizzas started appearing on the landscape and thus we started our foray into the fast food world. Even the college canteens mostly catered to the Indian taste buds and were attuned to doling out a fare of samosas, chana bhatura and masala dosa( Indian snacks), with omelet and bread being permanently on the menu! Till then, I had never really ventured beyond, when it came to eating!
My brush with the global menu cards started the day, I stepped into the Navy! The mess (dining hall) resembled a lavish setting in a five star hotel with a huge chandeliers on roof, immaculate white sheets on the table, adorned with silver cutlery and plates carrying the Navy insignia! The menu card displayed the fare ranging from baked beans, bacon, and eggs to order, cornflakes, milk, bread, butter jam and the works for the morning breakfast! The lunch and dinner would vary from a five course menu with a delightful pudding of all international cuisine apart from all Indian treat from different parts of the country. There were lessons in table manners in first few days on how to proceed when served, till closing the plate! The learning was a never ending process, I soon realized! I started to learn about the different soups, fish, chicken and puddings their fancy names which I had never heard before. There was no looking back now.
Whenever, I visited home, I saw the changes sweeping the city! Initially there was an odd Japanese/ Mexican or Lebanese restaurant serving to the more developed taste buds, delectable fare from the foreign shores. The globalization cast its long shadow on the cuisines in the city! There were mushrooming eating houses offering Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Italian food all over the major metro cities. No marriage party would be complete unless there were Chinese noodles, Live Pasta and Thai noodles on the menu.
The wheel seems to have turned a full circle! The TV channels promote the low fat, low carbohydrate, diet and promote multi grain cereals. The food experts sing paeans to promote the salads, need for having olive oil in dressings, humus and so on. Although, most of the Indians will still die for Chicken Tikka, Tandoori Chicken and Fried Fish and so on, but the clan of Sushi and lobsters lovers is on the rise. Virtues of having smaller meals after regular intervals and including more sprouts and salads is the latest fad being promoted by all health magazines to maintain an appealing and svelte figure. Low calorie or Diet drinks are preferred over regular colas. Baba Ramdev and his clan have promoted consumption of Aloe Vera and Gourd juice to the extent that at one point of time, the vegetable sellers said that gourd is in short supply for this upsurge in demand. Like fashion, the food industry too plays with the current sentiment of the masses! The advertisement campaigns of the edible oils, health drinks, keep educating the masses about the endless virtues of corn oil, sunflower oil over the hydrogenated ones and pro bio-tic drinks!
It leaves a common man in a dilemma over the choice to be exercised. Most of the saner elements do not get carried away by the high decibel advertisement and continue to lead healthy lifestyles with simple food habits and a daily regimen of physical exercise rather than bee lining to the ‘instant weight loss’ clinics or guaranteed return of money, if you do not see benefit of using the ‘special belts’ to reduce the waistlines. It is a constant battle for the poor housewife to choose from the options and more so when everyone in the family wants eggs cooked differently! Anyone, residing in a metro will vouch that the globalization and shrinking borders shows on the plate of what they eat each day, with a constant monitoring of calories consumed, if not of what we burn!
PS- Image Kind Courtesy Google