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Food, Love and War

June 12, 2020

The chicken pieces are cooking on low flame and my household wonders what preparation to put it in- biryani or simple curry? It is the sole topic of Sunday-and well, all the other days'-conversation. My father likes biryani because of the irresistible aroma and meaty flavor,  I prefer a simple curry or the delicious Mughlai chicken Mom makes because spicy foods don't agree with my tongue, and my sister prefers anything, just as long as there is dessert in the end- or a drink. My mom has a tolerance culture- she eats anything!- and artistic hands weaving any dish into perfection. She waits for us to be done with our drama and surprisingly, the chicken isn't overcooked by then! It's always ready to be put in the preparation the family agrees upon, and the dish gets wondrously cooked, leaving our twitching noses in agony until serving time. Artistic hands and a bit of magic, perhaps?

There is a bit of magic in all the food we eat. The aroma of hot cooked food tingles noses and gets mouths watering with a hope of tasting just one little piece..and then a little more.. slowly consuming all of it, till the stomach nearly bursts. That's food, everybody! Pizza, steak,the traditional mouthwatering gulab jamun-what not? But what food does that for you?  Is there a particular cuisine, a particular dish? Is there a favorite smell you expect in your kitchen, or a feeling of content you prefer in your stomach? In my home, there is a rather wide choice of delicacies to choose from. My mom's a Bengali and Dad's a Tamilian. Those two cuisines are north and south poles! Me and my sister guess which parent tastes their home food today, and we are never right. It's either the delicious sweets and fried snacks or mouth watering lemon and tomato rice! Owing to the endless discussion about what to eat for dinner, it leads to neutral dishes that take no one's side. Now you may be thinking, there's a solution! Does anything ever remain neutral? Especially in food? Like I said, food has magic in it. It has a charm in it to control those appetized by it. Noodles may disagree with Dad at times and we prefer going hungry than eating another bite of dosa (yes, it isn't a neutral dish. but a good way to whip something up quickly). But some of the dishes Mom makes are agreeing to us all- the cottage cheese and fried rice, Indian bread with cottage cheese curry along with a side salad, barbecued vegetables with mouth-watering topings or roast chicken and fish. The occassional and delightful chocolate cakes Mom makes and we help with ( we do! )  with incredible toppings the whole family comes in to add; and of course the most delicious junk foods we don't analyze before stuffing them into our mouths! Burgers, pizzas, fried chicken nuggests and wings, the crisp of fast foods.Even the simple pulse dishes and broths have a unique flavor and divinity difficult to comprehend. That burst of the food in our mouths and the tingling of different flavors swoons one, captivitating yet another person and closing in on them with invisible talons- talons of gentleness and contentment. We cherish the food we eat. We love it with our heart and feel ourselves lucky on savoring the amazing dish. When the war is over, we bring ourselves united by the food we eat, the life we share together. We feel love, blessed by the delicacies we eat. We feel love for each other. The magic in food is yet another captivation in disguise; we may feel separated with different choices, but that's what all humans have in common- variety. But what brings us together? Eating it together and reminding ourselves what we do have - humanity. And a little bit of Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches, if you please.
biryani-Indian rice mix 
Mughlai-curd based curry with nuts
dosa-rice based flatbread

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