Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

I don't like food competitions. I do watch them (and sometimes get addicted too), but I just don't think it's right. Isn't food supposed to be something that nourishes the body and the soul? Isn't every person's palet as unique as the individual? I agree that cooking is an art form too, but that's all the more reason why it should not be so competitive. I guess it started off as a friendly activity in the oriental palaces to encourage creativity of the chefs, but in its modern avatar, it does get pretty ugly sometimes. I understand that these shows are popular, and even fun, but what does it really say about the society that fosters more and more use of food fights as entertainment? There was a time when people believed that one man's food is another man's poison. It let people embrace diversity. I like my food sweet, you like it salty...what's the big fight? And what's the rush of preparing five fancy dishes under sixty minutes. Really..what IS the rush? I toally understand that like any other professional, a chef would like to show off his capabilities and show that he's really good at what he does and that he can handle all different kinds of pressures. But hello, it's food that we're talking about. I come from a culture that almost worships food. You can't do things to offend the "Annadevata" or god of foods. You worship "Maa Annapurna" (godess of mother who provides food) for giving you the ability to nourish the people who are going to eat your food. There is no place for a competition there, as far as I can think. Is food also one more medium to satiate a super ambitious modern food professionals' craving to prove supremacy over others?

On a side note, I've started noting an increase in the number of chef-centered movies in the recent times. Maybe this has something to do with with Ruth Rachael's remark about celebrity chefs. They are our new heros, since fewer people seem to think that their mom is the best cook in the world.

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