Have you ever felt that sort of happiness when you bite into that perfect slice of blueberry cheesecake? Or sit down in a quiet corner, after a long day, to have a cup of chai with a packet of Parle G (G mane genius :P)?
Food has always had a magical effect on me. It solves so many problems in my life, the smallest of which is hunger (also as big as ideas for these blogs). A good meal or even a good whiff of tasty food with or without company can cure me of sadness, anger and confusion.
There’s something absolutely miraculous about finding that perfect bite, about tasting that delicious slice of cake that you saw at that corner bakery, about smelling your mother’s cooked meal before you enter the house (and when you can actually differentiate the smell of food cooked by her and someone else).
A lot of people might call me a “foodie”. I guess you could call me that. There’s nothing that delights me more than perfect food.
Expensive food has not always been the best choice (though, sometimes it has been the perfect one). And being in Mumbai for these three years roadside dhabhas are a definite favourite eating place (sometimes the greed for good taste has landed me with a stomach upset, well that’s no problem till it is inexpensively curable). The smell of fried food, hindi music playing from a cracked radio and a 25 rupees plate of food, that is worth killing for.
I think the love of food comes from the fact that my family loves their food. There is no question of skipping meals and good food is always appreciated (not always, the first time I made chapattis, they were maps of some unknown world and yeah, looked and tasted more like papads, but I got 100 rupees for that :D). My childhood memories of food involve my mother walking in with a plate full of hot chapattis plastered with ghee. You could smell them a mile away (not really) and even if food was not on my mind, the smell of those chappattis would make my stomach rumble in an instant (I know tooooo much of a cliché, but that is how it was).
One of my favourites is Pizza (I just had one today for lunch, and that’s all on my mind). I know what you must be thinking. That it’s overrated and it’s almost everyone’s favourite food. Tell us something that is your real favourite (like what? mummy made sarson da saag aur makkai di roti? naah). I love pizzas. And the fact that so many people like it makes it even more special. Have you ever met anyone who has denied a slice of Pizza? (that’s just a rhetoric, please do not answer if it’s a ‘yes’). Everyone has their preferences and that's the best thing about Pizza. You can have whatever topping you want, but it’s still Pizza! A friend of mine loves the Hawaiian style, with the pineapple and the chicken. I love mine colourful with multiple topping including mushrooms, olives, jalapenos, sweet corn, bell peppers, sometimes pineapple also. Mouth wateringly delicious.
Food has always been this special to me. However good food becomes even better when it is amongst great company. There is something refreshing about being able to sit with a group of friends and share a story over a good lunch. Or cry about your break-up with your best friend and with a carton of ice-cream.
One of my favourite, food and people story is when we went to distribute food at a nearby orphanage. Little kids with their palms open stared at us with wonder as we distributed chocolates, ice-cream bars and then later on plates of food for lunch and dinner. Food does that to you. It makes you happy and warm. Food strengthens not only the body but also the soul. After all, why is that you are the happiest amongst good food and good company?
Food to me is not just a daily ritual to satisfy my hunger. Food to me is happiness. It brings into me a sense of satisfaction and adventure. I don’t need to travel to Italy to have a good pizza or go to Kerala to have good rasam chawal. It helps me understand culture and people. Food for me is a journey and good food is my everyday adventure.