The obliteration of Indian Food. Where do I begin? The title sounds quite dramatic right? What can I do, I was thoroughly irritated when I penned this. You see, recently I’ve noticed a trend, something gets anglicized, it becomes a sudden trend. Exposing other cultures to the world, great. The problem is somewhere along the lines while becoming trendy, hip and widely accepted the item losses it’s authenticity.
Let’s take food for an example, Indian Food to be precise. Belonging to the blogging community, I often find myself researching the hottest food trends. I was so perplexed when I saw a familiar yellow drink I grew up drinking labeled as “Golden Milk“, claiming all the benefits of the traditional medicinal drink. Golden Milk? Really? If you’re wondering about the drink bloggers and health fanatics seem to be raving about, it’s Haldi Dhood (Turmeric Milk), you know the first thing your Nani or Dadi (grandmother) prescribed you when you were down with a cold. The problem isn’t with the world knowing our Ayurvedic secret ;). The problem is the extremes of recipes I see, mix agave, serve it on ice, add vanilla essence. There is a reason behind each spice in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic science. Turmeric is added as an antibiotic, a cleanser, honey to sooth the throat, black pepper for its warming properties and it’s all added to hot milk, where all the ingredients come together to warm and soothe the body.
Then there’s this. Whatever it is, it’s not Biryani. They could have easily called this an Indian inspired Chicken bake but by calling it Biryani is an insult to Biryani. There are times I understand the need to translate a name, perhaps Kadoo ki saabzi doesn’t sound so appetizing at “curried pumpkin”. When I first started sharing my recipes I was lost on how to name my recipes without losing its authenticity. In the end I decided to call a spade a spade, saabzi is saabzi, translating is fine, but let’s not completely change the essence of a dish and remain calling it the authentic name.
Now you’ll probably wonder why things like this get me so riled up. I’m no expert cook nor the sole representative of Indian food. I do however pride myself in trying to preserve authentic Indian homemade food. I’m trying to cook and document my grandmothers and mothers recipes so I don’t lose that homemade taste, my husband gets his childhood cravings satisfied and my daughter knows and appreciates what real, authentic Indian food tastes like.
So the next time you’re out for dinner, cooking with Indian spices or talking to a friend from another culture, familiarize yourself, understand that biryani doesn’t have to be like your grandmothers chicken bake, it can be someone else’s Nani’s Sunday special Biryani, and that’s okay.