It has been happening for a while now but suddenly it seemed to me that , everyone I met was talking about food: local, organic, GMO, humane, “ethnic” cuisine, paleo diet, juice cleanse, kale, quinoa, almond milk, free range, clean food (were we eating muck till now? I am confused!) , the list goes on and is familiar to most of us. But what I was wondering was how and when did food become the central part of most conversations, a focal point of life? I like food as much as the next person but does it have to come up as a focal point of discussion everywhere? Does it make us, in some way, different or special? Or is it replacing other issues that used to occupy our minds?
Maybe food is the new music? Today we discuss cuisines, restaurants and dining experiences the way we would, in the past, discuss music and certain choices signal exclusivity or being on trend.
Exploring different cuisines and ingredients is also a proxy for exploring other places. The line of jars of harissa on supermarket shelves evoke distant places, if we cannot go there we can at least bring a hint of that adventure into our kitchen. Food is the new travel.
Having brought home the pastes and spices and noodles, how do you know what to do with them? Cookbooks, of course! A list of cookbooks out this Fall highlights recipes from Ethiopia to Ukraine, from Nordic cuisine to a taco encyclopedia: the kitchen is a travel portal. But do people actually cook from these books or are these for pleasure and recipes we actually follow come from Google? Food is the new reading….?
(Image Courtesy: Serge Bertasius Photography at freedigitalphotos.net)