I honestly feel that the best product of globalisation is its impact on food.
We have moved much beyond the cultural exchange of Masala Dosa and Chole Bhature to Tagines and Profiteroles.
People these days are willing more than ever before, to enjoy, explore and experiment with food.
Food has moved beyond being just a necessity, a mere need to oil the body’s machinery to appeasing the taste buds and a feast to the eyes and senses as well.
Even in an average household, one can see more varieties of pastas and prawns. The kitchen is not just the docile bahu’s domain anymore, neither is cooking or food confined to the kitchen and dining room.
Once upon a time, Indian prime-time television narrated the sagas of saas-bahus… And for half an hour, around tea-time, there used to be cookery shows, with hosts patiently explaining recipes, for wives and mothers to please their families.
Food shows have come a long way from there. From just being a peripheral show, there are entire channels for food these days. Though it is a totally different thing that I find the content of shows that show food and culture as synonymous, and way better than shows showing recipes, step by step.
There are so many programmes that explore the culture of different places through cuisines. BBC Entertainment shows world renowned chef Rick Stein’s journey through China and eastern Asia.
Then we have people like Adam Richman in Man Vs. Food that test man’s eating capacity. It is as if the competitive spirit of man is directed towards food. There are several out of the box and whacky ideas for shows, such as the one where a half- Egyptian and half-Chinese cook, Bobby Chinn, explores a totally foreign culture to him like India.
Of course, the conventional show concepts are a big hit among the audiences. We all love the liberal way David Rocco uses his olive oil or Nigella Lawson uses butter, while describing dishes so sexily that makes you want to be there and relish the whole experience from shopping for ingredients to cooking and eating.
Masterchef is such a huge success that we also had Indian versions of it recently. The innovative concept of cook-offs between amateur cooks who are exposed to the world of professional cooking is appealing to all food and reality show lovers.
Then we also have innovative concepts like that of Come Dine With Me, a competition between four people who themselves host and judge, at whose home everyone had the best dining experience.
Food is the most delectable way to discover new places and get a true insight into the cultures there. Because food reflects the life and styles of the people of a place. Simple yet flavoursome food means the people live a simple lifestyle, yet enjoy good food. People who like to make a dining experience out of every meal tend to enjoy different flavours, spicy and masaledar food.
Food also reflects the topography and geography of a place. We all love exotic ingredients specific to some cultures. Certain fish and seafood can be enjoyed only in exotic locales such as France or culturally rich northern Africa.
So, whatever be the reason, food related reality and travel shows connect with the inner foodie in us all. They are captured as such that one feels transported with the television anchor to unknown and unfamiliar lands.