Back to the pedigree…
Those who are regular travelers; who dine out with family or friends; who closely observe or work in the food processing and manufacturing industries, it is faced by the annoying fact that the number of vendors of fine food and raw materials are fast diminishing. While the vegetables, fruits and other additives that belong to our tradition are being thoroughly less in supply and the quality of the same worsening day by day. These are all happening because of the inadequate policies of governments and companies to prevent this catastrophe; mass production to meet the requirements of changing life styles. Whatsoever may the explanation, this trend should have a shattering effect on man as well as domestic animals.
The FAST FOOD or JUNK FOOD CULTURE, as part of acculturisation tag along with the globalisation and industrialization infused in to the elite as well as common class of our society. Many fast food chains become commercially a success model and become a benchmark for many other new ventures, no matter of its size. Millions of units seek to use those business methods in an attempt to photocopy its success. Among those methods, the efficiency on things that can be quantified rather than the quality of the product, pre defined ambience and on the replacement of skilled manpower with mechanized technologies are given top priority. This fast food culture led to a trade-off, in which we are able to get food faster and faster, but the quality of food and service we receive suffer with every increase in speed. The more sophisticated food processing and manufacturing industries are here to hook people on the escalating range of easily stored and transported food with artificial taste, colour and flavour. It doesn’t kill us but a heart attack or other chronic diseases are pretty serious outcome.
But in recent times, the wind of change started blowing slowly but steadly in the approach of people. Now they started thinking and talking about the concept of sustainable food. On the other side certain social reformers and leaders put up some fundamental concepts like ‘back to the roots’, ‘digging up the ancestry’ etc paved the way to use indigenous methods in development of society as well as culture. The social scientists termed these concepts as ‘ethnocentrism’ means the tendency of each society to put its own culture models at each and every walk of life. It endorses social change by gearing up harmony of the society by clearing of narrow domestic walls of internal disparities and accepts as true that one’s own ways are best. This approach in reframing and refining own culture reflected in eating habits as well. Visionaries in social, political and industrial in each society recognized the craving of people to be ethnic. So they provided ample opportunity to such group in the society in order to grow and live their own way. This peculiar social as well as intellectual condition in various culture demanded fundamental change in food habits. Subsequently the ethnic theme restaurants back in to existence. Now the learnt and health conscious people in the society is responsive to the vitality of ethnic food. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the good days in the recent past the world of food had little to do with the concept of ‘fresh’ or ‘natural’. To understand why this is so, we should observe the history of invasion of fast food or Junk food culture in to our culinary culture. The coconut should have the taste of coconut, tamarind of tamarind and, chilly of chilly, turmeric of turmeric, milk of milk, salt of salt is a straightforward but revolutionary idea that will catch root very slowly in this changing world order. We are sure that the coming ages will witness the fundamental change in the food consume pattern in the society. Then the future generation will realize all that glitters in the shiny packets is not food but slow killing poison.
When we talk about sustainable food, in more or less every facet, we are talking about a concept called ‘Ethnic Food’ back to a less commercial and more local way of making and serving food. We are also talking about society, culture, health because food, when it’s not produced in industrial unit and prepared locally and served through a homely atmosphere, is a social connector. The advertisements and commercials help us to connect to companies and restaurant networks that produce tasty food, but home food in general and food traditions in particular, help us connect to other people having the same lineage and culture. We contrast between religion, occupation, socio economic status, family values and faiths throughout Kerala and scattered in the different parts of the world for securing safe livelihood. Even amid diversity the food traditions shape our culture and our memories. We all have a certain traditional taste in our taste buds that take us back to the nostalgic memories of our plentiful good days in home, the pretty care of mother. The rituals and festivals that use food as a part of faith are also multiplying our homesickness. Habitually these food memories are what hook up the human experience to a physical feedback to food as well as an emotional link to it. We’re not exactly happy here ethnic restaurants, but we certainly appreciate a tradition that reminds us how to tread simplicity, trust, wisdom on Earth, (especially when we do it with good food).
We’re keyed up to share our feelings and opinions about our food traditions here at the Mother’s Kitchen.