Food- what can one say about it? Some just eat to live while others they taste food, absorb and cherish food. For me food is an art, food is my passion- a madness captures all your senses, fills the nostrils with the aroma, sight of food is itself appetising, lingers onto your palate and nourishes your core! When I was told to write this article, it propelled me to think as to why does food mean so much to me or the whole human civilisation? Hunger- the only primal instinct commonly seen in all living beings, humans tend to have a relatively developed sense of taste owing to which we have developed likes and dislikes. The logic behind food is like the lady with seven veils, just when you think that you have known enough to master the art of food, you discover a whole new side of it.
Let’s talk about Aahar that is the type of foods based on Vedas. It is believed that one’s diet should be as per one’s lifestyle and categorically they suggest three diets 1. Sattvika Aahar: this is categorised by uncooked and semi cooked food like fruits, salads, vegetables steamed or blanched. This diet is recommended for Brahmins or the ones involved with a lot of religious work and do not need a lot of physical activity. 2. Raajasi Aahar: These are meant for the people who are engaged with administrative work living in the relatively higher strata of the society and is characterised by rich foods like butter, ghee, cream, milk, etc. 3. Taamasi Aahar: This diet is devised for people who need aggression i.e. soldiers or warriors like the name suggests. It is characterised by spicy food consisting of meats except for pork and beef which is religiously restricted. So that’s the logic regarding your body’s need and that gives rise to foods that depend on ones requirements like sugar free biscuits for diabetics.
The question next in my head was about mood foods. What exactly triggers our desire to have some particular food that we relate to a particular feeling or emotion? Why are a few foods associated with a few moods? Aphrodisiac foods are said to invoke and increase the desire to make love like figs are said to boost fertility, Cleopatra’s favourite fruit indeed resembles the female reproductive organ, oysters have zinc to increase testosterone consequently a man’s sex drive also pomegranate juice is said to raise libido up to 30% ! Now talking about comfort food, it was observed that we tend to comfort ourselves over with the food we either grow up eating or the ones which we like to eat consequently it gives us a feeling of comfort in a situation of distress, for a true Goan heart like me, it is always fish curry and rice. Usually comfort foods are desserts or those foods that you can relate to having good memories with it in order to reward yourself.
Further, the logic behind food can be explained by the environment and availability of food, I mean to say that as civilisations evolved, they ate what was easily available like in the coastal areas the cuisine is highly influenced by fish like Goa or Kerala, in countries like Afghanistan where spices are available abundantly the cuisine has heavy influence of spices, Zanzibar which was the centre of trading for all the merchants in ancient times adapted its cuisine through the times as people from around the world settled and mixed with the locals contributing to the cuisine as well.
In conclusion art is more than understanding of logic, it is the implementation. Wherever you go, whatever you eat or drink even if that is a humble meal at a road side dhaba or a fine dining place al fresco overlooking the finest view you can afford food is not only something you eat to satiate your hunger and keep you alive, it is a piece of art. So, strip your senses take it all in and cherish every morsel , LOVE YOUR FOOD AND IT WILL LOVE YOU BACK.