India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mongolian hot pots and al dente risotto

There's a generation war brewing in India, and it involves food. The New York Times reports:
Yogurt hasn't traditionally been a source of family tension among the Indian middle class. But things have changed in this most traditionbound of countries.

"Much to my mother's chagrin I use store-bought yogurt," said Rujuta Jog, 24, a recently married office worker. "And my mother-in-law was upset when she saw that I use Pillsbury flour to make rotis. She still prefers to buy wheat and grind it fresh."

Ms. Jog's mother, like most Indian women of her generation, has always cooked everything from scratch. But unlike her mother, Ms. Jog works 40 hours a week outside the home. She and her husband often just order from restaurants, which are more varied and widespread than ever before in cities like Bangalore. Millions of others are doing the same. The amount spent nationally on meals outside the home has more than doubled in the past decade.

It's actually not just the errant new generation that eats more outside and favours prepared food, but older people as well. And much as purists and old-timers might bemoan it, it's a fantastic thing. Kitchen technologies like ovens and microwaves contributed in making cooking less time-consuming, and freeing women up to do other things with their lives; prepared food enables an extension of that freedom. And anyone who doesn't like it is free to cook their own food, preferably in the woods over an open fire.

(Link via email from Bridal Beer.)

Update: Arun Simha writes in an email:
It is quite interesting that the US seems to be coming a full circle, what with the sprouting of shops selling organic food, doctors and dieticians recommending home cooked & healthy meals and people trying to rediscover their cooking roots. (My wife consults a dietician at Stanford to help her through her pregnancy.)

Heck, the anti-microwave trend has even spawned off a slow food movement.

This company, for instance, is doing very well in Northern California.

One of the popular cable channels - watched by males and females equally - is Food Network. Chefs are big time celebrities here and they inspire people to try various dishes at home. That includes males as well as females.

That's the other end of the circle, I guess, when people have enough leisure time and are affluent enough to spend that much time over food, which is, after all, one of our primal pleasures. And now, young connoisseurs of language, tell me this: did I really need the "I guess" and the "after all" in the previous sentence? Should I cut out the fat? Do you like your prose lean?
amit varma, 10:44 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: