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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Food Bashing and Gnashing


The other day I was attending a food demonstration, the host used just 20% of the ingredients and the rest he just dumped it aside. One of the persons in the audience was offended and scolded him for wasting food.

In India, we worship food Goddess called ‘Aandata’. From childhood this fact is drilled into our head that one must never waste food and that we must fill our plate with only sufficient amount that we can finish it. Left-over are neatly packed and used for some other day. At every Indian festival, food is served with passion and even in communal kitchens; the food is prepared over the hymn in praise of Lord. People who dine in a restaurant pack a doggy-bag of the food that is left at the table, to pass it to a hungry beggar out on the street or bring it home for their next day breakfast.

So how do we react when we see people waste food?

Or throw the food around just for a thrill?

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 The girl in this picture is not only wasting tomatoes but is somersaulting in tomato sauce!

LaTomatina Festival is celebrated in Bruno, Spain where they have tomato fights for over two hours.  Such festivals will never be allowed in India. Indians, who saw this festival in a Bollywood film ‘Zindagi nah Milagi Dubara’, tried to replicate this festival in places like Delhi. Bangalore and Mysore but were unsuccessful because like I said before ‘We don’t believe in wastage of food in any form’ unless of course if it is wheat grains in Punjab which is allowed to rot because of lack of storage space.

But that’s another story.

In Bruno, Spain, the tomatoes are specially grown for this festival and there is a ritual to be followed. The first event of the Tomatina begins with ‘Palo Jamon’ which is a greasy pole with a ham on the top. While one person tries to reach the ham through greasy pole, the crowd grows frenzy with singing a dancing and showering sprays of water from hose in an effort to drop him off the pole. As soon as someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the signal for tomato fight is given with tomato squashed and thrown at each other.

And they paint the city red…..

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Another fruit that is found in abundance in Spain is grapes. If you walk in the rural areas of Spain, you are likely to find bunches of grapes peeping over the ledge. You may pluck the grape and chew while you jog or feast your eyes till the grapes rot. In the town of Haro in the La Rioja region of northern Spain is the festival called a ‘Batalla de Vino’ or ‘Battle of Wine’ whereby the buckets and buckets of wine are poured at each other just like we play Holi in India. The goal is to drench everybody in wine from top to bottom.

Now, would we waste so much wine in India?

In another small Italian town called Ivrea, thousands of oranges arrive in the city during the festival calledBattle of Oranges’ whereby there is flinging of oranges with great force between teams to celebrate the town’s defiance against the ruling tyrant who was eventually killed by a local miller’s daughter.

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 In Italy this playing with oranges and squashing them during food fight is not considered as waste because these are the leftovers from annual harvest and would have to be destroyed under EU rules.

Maybe they don’t know the recipe of orange squash?….er…or the fact that they can export it to neighboring countries?

Sometimes the waste is not for fun or to celebrate some festival, but waste is the result fight against the law makers.

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During my visit to Boston some years ago, I looked deeply into the Charles river to check the color of the water as I imagined it to be of dark brown color. The tourist guide informed me about the wastage of 342 chest of tea that was dumped into the river in the course of three hours by Americans dressed in Mohawk warrior disguises back in the year 1773. The river was deep brown color for months after this revolution and I wondered what it must have looked like as the river flowed, passing through different surrounding cities. Did the people bend down to taste the waters? Or did they add lime and had green tea?


 The Boston tea party has often been referred in other political protests. When Gandhi met with the British viceroy in 1930 after Indian salt protest campaign, Gandhi took some duty free salt from his shawl and said with a smile, that the salt was “to remind us of the famous Boston Tea party.”

Food is the favorite subject in every home and many of the cuisines can be created or improved upon. There are many food channels on TV which inspires us to cook various recipes. MasterChef is the favorite TV channel which is enjoyed world over but nothing beats the culinary Olympics called ‘Bocuse d’Or’, the two-day, biennial global culinary contest founded by the 84-year-old master, Paul Bocuse, and considered by organizers the Olympics of cooking.

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This is the interesting event where chefs are invited from all parts of the world and throughout the day, the commentators pumped up the crowd, encouraging ear-piercing whistles, hoots, cowbells, chants, shouts and there is a loud playing of recorded songs. Accuracy is not the top priority of the commentary at all, be it in English or in French. Pine nuts become peanuts; beef becomes buffalo. Bread sounds like thread. The fish and meat dishes all get mixed up and I am sure lots of food gets wasted at this event too……although they do lose points if they waste too much…..

The food fight goes on around the world for different reasons, some for entertainments while others for getting even, but if u decide to waste, then just waste on pepper spray to show anger and on cream confetti oozing out of the can for fun….... tried those???

1 comment:

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