The past week, we got an opportunity to be a part of the kickoff of Food Forward India, an initiative to prioritize the future of Indian food, by Chef Garima Arora. The idea on which Food Forward India began was to brainstorm about possible futures for Indian food and understanding how to catalogue Indian food. While Indian food is rich and varied in its heritage, it’s not broken down or catalogued like other cuisines.
The event had some of the best minds from the industry including chefs, restauranteurs, writers, historians etc. And there were some interesting conversations that came from it.
Here are some of the major points of discussion:
What makes Indian food, Indian?
While this question was crowdsourced, flavours, recipes, spice blends, tadka etc were some of the common answers. But all of this culinary knowledge that we have needs to be documented.
Prof. Ganesh Bagler’s talk on Computational Gastronomy in this regard was eye-opening.
According to him, the spice is the molecular fulcrum of Indian cuisines. And how Indians combine ingredients which have not many common flavour molecules is the foundation of his team’s work which is based on data from 3000+ recipes online.
Prof. Ganesh’s work is first of its kind for the Indian cuisines, and his talk generated a lot of interest in flavours, combinations, and profiles. Check out his work here.
Misappropriation of Indian Food
With Indian food being in the limelight (looking at you chai tea lattes), this was, of course, one of the major points of discussion. What is the appropriation of food, what level of it is good and creative and what level of it steps away from the authentic? And what does authentic even mean?
What is Indian food, even?
Which brings us to the next main topic of the evening which was, what even is “Indian food”.
India, with her 29 states and 22 different languages can’t possibly have one common cuisine. It’s like saying “European cuisine” — Indian cuisine is as good as an entire continent’s cuisine.
There are so many subcultures and micro cuisines that the term Indian cuisine can’t do justice to all of these.
It’s an exciting time to be at the crossroads of cuisine and culture as we try to ask ourselves who we are and what our food is to all of us.
On that note, dive into this week’s issue. Stay Curious,
Anusha & Elizabeth
The Biryani Cooked Inside Bamboo
For the state tourism board of Andhra Pradesh (AP), losing their Biryani was a major concern. Enter Sivarama Krishna, a chef working with the AP Tourism board, took to the road to find a dish that could put AP on the map and in the process unearthed the Bamboo Biryani from the Araku Valley tribes.
Protein-deficient India Big On Importing Supplements
Cheese waste whey protein is getting popular in India, but India, the world’s largest dairy producer imports most of its whey. Two companies want to change that.
How Do We Preserve the Vanishing Foods of the Earth?
When we love food, we love them a lot. And we often eat them to extinction.
In this exploration of the history of our favourite foods, Lenore Newman (the author) goes on an expedition to hunt down for the foods that we’ve literally loved to death.
But before you read the book, read this excerpt from it.
🌱How seed-company leaders are addressing Agricultural challenges
Are we on track to feed 9 billion people by the year of 2045?
🚜The Netherlands to cooperate with India to become the food factory of the world
As the second-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, The Netherlands can help India to produce food in a more sustainable and efficient manner.
👩🏼🌾Researchers study the behavioural aspect of farmer suicides
Farmer suicides which have been looked at from an economic and agricultural angle are now being looked at behaviourally and psychologically.
🍗Wealthy Indians Must Eat Differently from Those Whose Rights They Defend
Underprivileged Indians, are among those least to blame for climate change. Yet, rising carbon emissions will hit hardest the same vulnerable communities who depend on livestock for their nutrition and livelihood.
🍱Unicef: States compromising on blended take-home food
Quality of take-home ration is really bad and needs to improve says Dr Shariqua Yunus Khan, head — Nutrition at UN’s World Food Programme.
Call for papers for an edited volume on Gender and Food Technology in South Asia. Link >
Cargill in association with Dow Chemical made 90% of its plastic packaging in India, recyclable.
Ridhima Pandey, a climate activist, wants to mobilise youth to contribute to climate action.
Consumer studies show almost 63 per cent of Indians would like to try plant-based and cultivated meat.
FUTURE OF PROTEIN
The Good Food Institute and The Humane Society of India are together organising their second Future of Protein Summit. Check out the exciting agenda and speaker line-up.
Dates: Nov 11,12
Location: New Delhi
P.S. We’ll be around, come say hi if you’re there too!
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