Food for body and mind
So far the Indian-origin ethnic group has been cornering all glory at nationwide competitions like Spelling Bee and Geographic Bee. With six children...
So far the Indian-origin ethnic group has been cornering all glory at nationwide competitions like Spelling Bee and Geographic Bee. With six children among the 54 winners, they constitute the largest ethnic group in the US to give food for thought that they are out to conquer the few remaining frontiers other than science and technology in the US
Indian food has never tasted as good as it is now. From Presidents to Prime Ministers and royalty to the laity, the mere mention of curry and spices makes their mouths water. The latest to show their taste buds for Indian food are none other than the US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. The First Lady told an Indian-origin kid that she is a big fan of Indian cuisine. In fact, she revealed that one of her favourite restaurants in Washington DC is Rasika that serves Indian food. The occasion for her cooking a few Indian food thoughts was a Kids State Dinner at the White House given in honour of 54 children for their "fabulous culinary skills." The award-winning kids, aged between 8 and 12, have prepared different lean and mean menus that are supposed to fight childhood obesity. Now, into the second year, the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, launched by the US First Lady, invites parents and guardians to work with their wards and produce a recipe that is healthy, affordable, original and delicious. Not surprisingly, six of the winners are Indian-Americans and they have given the Obamas a taste of India with their spicy preparations. So far the Indian-origin ethnic group has been cornering all glory at nationwide competitions like Spelling Bee and Geographic Bee. With six children among the 54 winners they constitute the largest ethnic group in the US to give food for thought that they are out to conquer the few remaining frontiers other than science and technology in the US. Indians have never conquered any country or colonized it. The only mention of Indians crossing the sea was when emperors and kings sent their sons and daughters and special envoys to neighbouring countries either to propagate Buddhism or construct Hindu temples, not to proselytize the population. Once their mission was accomplished, the goodwill ambassadors returned. Nevertheless, they left a few traces of what they had taken along with them, such as culture, cuisine, traditions and knowledge. But in modern times, it's two-way exchange of lifestyles, though it is difficult to say who benefited more. Undoubtedly, it is Indian food that has made inroads into the British eating habits, first with curries followed by chutneys, pickles, sambar and rasam, pulavs, biryanis, rotis and a host of snacks, including papads, that are munched and washed down with beer in pubs. Though curry is believed to have originated in India, it has become the national dish for Britons and attempts have been made to patent it as British. Thousands of curry & fish restaurants dotting the British landscape, which are not necessarily run by Indians but by anybody from the sub-continent, have acquired their own taste and flavour. Thanks to the spicy ingredients that go into the making of different masalas used to prepare curries, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, the tingly-tangy taste is addictive. It is particularly so when one is craving for something different from normal bland food as in the case of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton who is due to deliver anytime now. A few days ago, she wanted to eat spicy Indian food, and her wish was immediately granted. Few countries in the world can boast of such diversity of foods as India has. Culinary skills vary not just from region to region but family to family, sometimes even person to person. Though these tastes don't make commercial success, they do reflect the kaleidoscopic nature of food preparation and variety, a fact we should be proud of and the one that is appreciated and admired by others. If Indian food has colonized the globe, other lifestyle and entertainment trends that have followed our cuisine cast a spell. For instance, yoga, which is a rage in the West. Despite heated debates over its religious connotations and allegations of spiritually converting yoga adherents to Hinduism, the ancient holistic practice of synchronizing body and mind to ensure health and peace of mind has taken roots. With millions of people practicing yoga and vouchsafing for its benefits on physical and mental health, it has become one of the most potent forces to influence the West. Again, Kate is reported to have been preparing for the big day with private pregnancy yoga sessions. Keen on natural delivery, she is taking private yoga lessons to remain strong both physically and mentally and to cope with labour pains. President Obama too is an advocate of yoga. Then comes the Bollywood, the wholesome entertainment hungama. From East to West, entertainment unlimited called Bollywood casts a magic spell on millions of fans. Whether they know the Hindi language or not, their dubbed versions and poorly made imitations in various languages, people watch them with awe. Hindi music and films are part of the entertainment scene. There is no escape from them even in Sahara desert. What some people derisively call Indian cultural imperialism continues to spread and take deeper roots throughout the world. We might have failed to reach out to the world centuries ago; but now the vacuum is being filled by food for mind and body, typically Indian way.