Sunday, August 10, 2014

Daal, Roti and 100 Pipers

I’m basically a Daal, Roti and Scotch person !! 

For long I resisted suggestions and prodding from family and friends to write on food.  I was reluctant because these days I find every second person these days is a Food Blogger and almost everyone is a “Foodie” ( a term I detest – but more on that later). I never fancied myself to be a gourmet and an epicure I am certainly not. I don’t know much about the history of various cuisines nor  “Food Anthropology”  (another fashionable term). I have tried my hand at cooking occasionally with the odd success, that too mostly for the family (and once burnt my hand - literally - with boiling oil while trying to over-turn a whole chicken in a Kadai, a scar I still bear )– but can hardly claim to be a modern day metro-sexual wannabe master chef. I hardly watch Food Shows on TV (which are mostly scams anyway) and read only the occasional food column. I’m deeply cynical of Food Reviews – which I suspect are obtained  either through free-meals and wine – or , at times, simply paid-for (unless it's the Michelin Guides - there are very few food critics like the late Egon Ronay - who always paid for their meals). And, oh – I love Nigella Lawson. But, only for her looks, not culinary repertoire (which I have a creepy feeling they are largely outsourced or crowd-sourced).

Then what are my credentials – at all to write on Food ? To be honest, none actually. Like most ordinary people I like to eat.  Hunger is a natural desire we humans have been gifted purely for reasons of survival – embellished with a sense of taste, smell and touch that makes it a pleasurable experience. No wonder someone coined the term 'gastro-sexual' - as enjoying food is very much giving in to the senses. I believe even the most ascetic of individuals – even those practicing strict gastronomical abstinence - enjoy food. That’s why most fasts end with a feast and I have seen spiritually evolved persons of all religions (read - monks, nuns priests  and saints) indulging in the occasional repast with great relish.

I am no different from them. Perhaps, a wee bit more experimental and adventurous – but, certainly not one of those who “live” and are willing “to die for”  food.  For me food is more about memories, company and conversations.  Snapshots stored in the mind’s soft-disk indexed by the taste-buds and aromas.

The posts that will follow are part of that journey that I have taken through highways, by-lanes and alleys of the food trail the meals that I have partaken not only in restaurants, cafes, small road-side eateries, pubs, bars, dhabas - people's homes and clubs that has shaped my own private gastronomical universe.