I love food! Eating a delicious, warm meal fills me with a sense of contentment, a kind of happiness. There are a number of aspects about food that I love …other than how good it can taste!
Food reflects history. It is often said that “history is written by the victor”. It is therefore a biased view or what happened. Food shows us history in a more unbiased way. A local dish can tell us about scarcity, ingenuity borne of necessity and thrift. Every culture and cuisine has its version of nose to tail eating derived from the need to use all of the animal and avoid waste. Another dish can tell of excess, wealth and gluttony e.g. royal cuisines. It can tell a story of migration and adjusting to new lands and cultures e.g. Nyonya cuisine. Historical foreign influences also show up in local food, for example, the French influence in the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich and Pho. Local dishes reflect the local climate and available resources e.g. Korean kimchi.
In many cultures, love and hospitality is expressed through food instead of words. A special dish made to nourish a loved one is a form of giving care, time and love. Memories of loved ones long passed can come rushing back with the tasting of certain dishes and the act of making their recipes. Food is central to a warm welcome and kind hospitality.
Food can be used to change our future as well. An overall decrease in the amount of meat eaten can shift the needle on climate change. Eating more locally can reduce the transportation emissions. Healthier eating is a strong factor in preventative medicine.
There are products that are complete meal substitutes to allow a person to avoid any meal preparation and minimize time spent consuming food. This may suit people who consider food only as fuel for their bodies but for others, replacing real food with a meal substitute slurry is akin to turning off the colour to the world and surviving only in shades of grey! A lot is lost!
What are your thoughts about food? Who do you nourish?