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5 years of gluttony
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Posted By: Pratiksha Rao
If you walk around the streets in any Indian metropolitan city, one out of every five people will claim to be a foodie. And nothing irks me more than these people, who just enjoy a few bouts of gluttony, call themselves a foodie; because a lot more than mere eating goes into upholding this heavy title.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I look back at the last five years in the gourmet world and how it became cool to talk about Wagyu beef and where you procured your salad leaves from at dinner parties:
Organic eating has been popular in the west for long, but it only picked up in India in the last few years. From vanilla pods to Romanesco broccoli, Indian pantries and refrigerators started stocking up with exotic ingredients which may not have use in traditional Indian cooking. Even an ordinary brand like Bru enticed mass consumers to its new range of instant coffee made from beans from far away lands of Guatemala and Kilimanjaro using the off screen romance between Priyanka and Shahid on television ads. Grocery stores such as Nature’s Basket and online grocery services made it easier to acquire these new ingredients. Smaller organic farmers and poultry growers in Delhi and Mumbai have even started supplying to restaurants and gourmet specialty stores which cater to client who want to know where there chicken came from. People started skipping the Mother Dairy milk token queue and returned to the age old practice of procuring milk straight from a local dairy. While organic ingredients comprise produce that is not infected with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, local ingredients are a new addition to the organic fad which encourages people to reduce their carbon footprint and eat vegetables, meat and dairy produced locally. If you think these people don’t exist, take a look at the video below and you’ll get an idea of the extent of the organic and local eating fad in some parts of the world.
And if you’re looking to jump onto the organic eating bandwagon,
here’s a startup list for you
Just how artisanal crafts and weaves made big news in the art and fashion world, the gourmet world was not behind to catch on this trend. From handmade chocolates to pastry chef crafted macaroons at Le 15 Patisserie, Mumbai and L’Opera, Delhi every ‘foodie’ has had his or her share of these desserts. The artisanal trend was not limited to just sweet treats, but also savoury dishes such as pastas and pizzas. The experimental cooks’ strangely shaped pizza crusts were suddenly acceptable and appreciated. “As long as it’s handmade, we’ll eat it”, that’s what the phony foodie were quoted saying!
For more than a decade, the staple non-Indian dining options at restaurants in India were Chindian (Chinese food with Punjabi tadka), and pizza & pasta doused in over spiced sauce and cheese in the name of Italian food. But now, the food map of India has completely changed, for the better of course. Whether you’re in a mood for some freshly flown fish from Japan for your sushi or medjool dates wrapped in aged prosciutto or an Ethiopian injera; your cravings will be aptly assuaged at some or the other restaurant in the country. And the cherry on top of this culinary revolution was the grand entrance of Le Cirque in 2011 in Delhi.
While Indians continued to explore world cuisine in restaurants across the country, they also developed a taste and appreciation for local indigenous cuisine within the country. Delhities savoured the classic Bengali Ilesh, and diners in Bangalore scoped restaurants serving Rajashtani Lal Maas. We learned to go beyond Butter Chicken and Dosa, and show our patriotism through our food.
And what was perhaps the most important development in food space was that food became intellectual, cool and respectful! Culinary art & science was encouraged and it shattered the age-old mundane image established by cookery shows, once adored by housewives. Food blogging and reviewing got brutal and intelligent: a streak of bad reviews on prominent food app, blog or site could potentially destroy any big restaurant’s life, irrespective of its lineage. Reality food shows such as Foodistan brought the ultimate battle of biryanis and kebabs between professional chefs across border, right into our homes - on our television screens. Finally, it was established that you don’t become a foodie by possessing a strong liking for chicken malai tikka and cheesy pizzas. Nurturing your passion for food by learning about what goes into creating the dishes that you love to gorge and getting dangerous by trying all new & old street food, high brow fine gourmet cuisine and everything in between – is what makes you a true foodie!
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