Thursday, August 6, 2009

Disappearing Indian cuisine?

This is in continuation to my blogpost on "Cooking travails of a mom". It is no secret that the children's eating habits and the choice of food have changed drastically over a period of time. During our parents' time everything was very simple. Thanks to the large joint family, the means to provide a comfortable level of living with trimmings everywhere was the diktat. Simple dhal, chawal, seasonal vegetable curry, sambar, rice porridge were the order of the day. Everyone had to eat whatever was prepared. No wasting of food. No choices whatsoever. All the sweets and savouries were home made.

Come our generation. The basics remained the same. But slowly North Indian cuisine started getting popular in the south. Hence vegetable pulao, raita, parathas started making forays into our traditional south indian menu. We know that India is a country of diversity. This was also the time T.V came into our households. So there was exposure to different cuisines from across India. So our choices increased.

I remember it was also the time when maggi noodles was introduced. All the children were crazy about it. I remember in many households children started to demand maggi noodles for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. As women of the household also increasingly started working outside, easy availability and acceptance of outside food became the order of the day. Still our dosa, idlis, sambar, rice porridge etc played a prominent part on our dining table.

Come today's generation. Spoilt for choice. Introduction of so called healthy cereals, pizzas, burgers, KFC, all started wreaking havoc on our healthy Indian menu. As mothers, it has now become an everyday affair to offer a large choice to our children (as though we are running a small restaurant at home) as to what the days menu would be. Even with umpteen number of choices each option is vetoed. Though the family size has shrunk menu planning has become an arduous task. Everytime we go out to eat, children invariably choose to go to McD, KFC, Pizza Hut or other pizza jonts, Chinese, Italian you name it other than Indian of course. What about MTR or a Shanbagh or Kamats? It is yukky mom, is the reply.

I remember reading that according to a study conducted, the south indian meal is supposed to be the most nutritious, healthy and well balanced meal. I felt so proud about it. But as my husband reminds my children the audacious line that one of the American cereal brands used ,where they said that in the coming years they would completely change the breakfast habits of Indian children. Are we after all going to fall prey to this? I am not against tasting other cuisines from other countries. But at the same time I fear that in future when our children grow up Indian cuisine might completely disappear from their kitchen.

Let us as moms see to it somehow that the efforts of our ancestors who painstakingly devised such healthy food depending on the region we came from will not go down the history making alien cuisine the staple diet in the years to come.

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