Cooking is a fine art. Done well, it preserves the health of those who consume the food and delights the heart as much.
First and foremost in the culinary art is tradition. There are recipes that have been handed down generations in the family. They not only remind us of a nostalgic past but also the bonds of family and community at large.
The traditional Sadhya of Malayalis with its fine blend of colours and tastes, sweet, sour, and spicy combinations and rice served on green plantain leaves have conquered not only the native palate but the hearts of westerners as well.
The serving of Sadhya during the harvest festival of Onam is very much a part of the tourism package of God’s own country too.
Secondly, the taste of food is not only expertize but also the love with which it is served. We might not remember the specific dishes our mothers cooked for us but we remember the love with which it was served; don’t we?
A homely meal thus becomes superior to even that of dining out at the stand-out makeshift eateries called “thattukadas.” A dinner with all members of family around the table at home was once upon a time a rich tradition in our culture.
Sadly it is now a forgotten memory with other priorities and distractions including time spend on mobile screens stealing away what is to be cherished, valued and held dear to the heart.
Thirdly, food is also a visual delight. Sometimes it is the appearance of the food that tempts and tantalizes us.
In Kerala, the plain white round steaming idli with hot brownish sambar for breakfast can make any mouth water. Or for that matter chicken fried rice strewn with green beans and orange-reddish carrots cut in small pieces is something that makes you want to eat it.
Chefs not only cook tasty food but also make it a point to present them presentably. They call it garnishing. It is a fine art and part of the appeal of good food is the way it is arranged neatly and with an aesthetic sense.
The ambience where you eat out also determines the mood, the memories, and the quality of time spend together with family, loved ones or friends.
Finally, food nourishes. We all need good nutritious food. In an age and time when fast food and canned food rule the world, with junk food conquering foodie taste buds; if we can return to the organic–to nature’s fruits and vegetables and cereals that are produced in seasons appropriate to it, life can be healthier and better.
To conclude, more than the exotic names of food items that fascinate the hearts of the youth and the advocates of pop culture across the world, the touch of the cold sundae on the tongue on a hot summer’s day is a special delight even as the drops of dew gather outside the tulip-shaped glass slide down!
The Story of a Breakfast by the Sea
One of the moving moments in the life of Jesus Christ happened after his resurrection. A discouraged band of 7 of his disciples go fishing in the Sea of Galilee. The experienced fishermen caught nothing that night.
From the shore Jesus told the men to cast their net on the right side of the boat. Though they did not realize it was Jesus, they obeyed and caught a large number of fish.
Soon they realize that it is the Lord and as they reach the shore they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus invited them,
“Come and have breakfast.”
This is a memorable breakfast when Jesus became the host rather than the guest. How lovingly he cared for these discouraged men!
What more could they expect than a hot breakfast on burning coals coming in wet and cold after a hard tiring night’s toil in the sea!