A nice lazy Sunday morning with breakfast in bed and a waiting cup of tea is incentive enough to read the newspaper with as much as relaxation as a day off of the hectic daily schedule, demands. Flipping through the pages, a glowing image of a rich chicken dish prohibits the normal human eye from moving forward without paying heed. One glance at the words ‘food’ and ‘Delhi’ and the column turns into a mandatory halt.
1. Babso Kanwar and Pushpesh Pant in the compilation of documenting history of Delhi’s Food:
A hunt down the history of the capital inspired certain food connoisseurs and historians to take up the case of investigating into all the communities that have contributed to the culture of the city-state as is understood as its own today. Food critic and historian Dr. Pushpesh Pant, in alliance with Babso Kanwar, a consultant of the same, aim to test the authenticity of the belief that Delhi food is synonymous with “Mughlai food”. In his attempts to unearth the long forgotten cuisines Dr. Pant also argues against the assumptions that the traditional recipes lost during partition cease to exist any longer. However it took more than just the brainchild to dredge up all that was invested into a system as complex and intricate as a culture. Babso Kanwar and Dr. Pant with the same realisation, shouldered the responsibility to journey to every place that the dishes could possibly have had their birth from. It was one of the leads of the drive to travel that helped construct a real theory from their hypotheses.
“Food also crosses borders and adapts with different cultures.” in the words of Babso Kanwar. The zeal to extricate the true origins of dishes from their assumed foundations, took her associate across the lanes and bylanes of the country’s remotest of corners. Such an enthused trawl triggered the duo to meet with all the people who were willing to help and hence travel across the borders to Pakistan and even Bangladesh. In the era preceding partition, the recipes would be wholesome and geographically fitting. Opportunely, these recipes survived the test of time to manage survival in nooks and corners of the Asian subcontinent.
The twenty first century has its perks no doubt. But there is only so much that distance can allow the scrutiny of. A quick flip through our facts book and the dissimilarities are apparent.
Emperor Aurangzeb was a vegetarian. Food lovers, especially Punjabis proud of their butter chicken, would be surprised to know that the dish is not theirs to begin with. The dish originated in Lahore.
2. Aditya Bal as Chef, host to the show “Lost Recipes” on Epic channel:
Credits : neivedyam
The labours taken by these food experts drifts thoughts to the self taught Aditya Bal, in the culinary career. The actor-model turned chef combined his fervour for travelling and adventure with his devotion to cooking sprouting from his ardour for food. With staunch conviction in the capacity of shared recipes to foster familial traditions, Aditya Bal traversed across state borders to help food reach its potential levels. The quest taken up by him was brought to realisation by his tour covering thirteen regions of India. An intrepid rummaging up of old cooking techniques was facilitated by his walks in all lanes, streets, homes and markets.
The life of traditions isn’t so short lived. What once was still exists. It takes proficiency to keep it alive. A bunch of relentless professionals is all it took to grasp the need for fusing together the fanaticism for food with that of travel and grub up the truth that has been missed.