Flavors from India
A limitless yet waste-less dinner
(This article is part of the International at home series)
Recently, I was invited to a lunch gathering for India food cooked traditionally. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but not only because the food and company were great. I also enjoyed the experience because I learned about a different style of eating. As we ate I began to think about food as a part of culture.
Truthfully, I think that there are two fundamental pillars of any culture outside of language: they are food and religion. Sharing food or religion with people from another world is one of the best ways to really experience and ingrain yourself with a culture.
In western society, we have grown accustomed to a particular way of eating. Often a meal will range from the formal sit down dinner to the informal eating over the sink. The way that we eat can vary greatly among different people and families. Regardless of this variety of differences, we are still used to our cultural norms such as plates, utensils, and order.
Up until recently I had never had the opportunity to eat a full meal with my hands. Sure I eat my hamburgers and pizzas with my hands, but not meals of rice, potatoes, and curry chicken. I knew that it was of cultural significance in some places around the world, but never before had I experienced it. A few months ago, my friend invited me over to share a meal with him. Since then, I’ve had a new understanding for this eastern way of eating.
What most people do not realize is that there is something wholesome about eating with your hands. As it was explained to me, “Eating with your hands is about connecting fully with the food you are eating. When you eat with your hands, you are leaving nothing between you and the food that you consume. Thus, it is in some ways a bonding experience with your food.”
With this new understanding I sat on the ground eating over my banana leaf. The banana leaf another interesting symbol. There is no waste in a banana leaf as you do not need to worry about plates. The leaf can be disposed of and is easily biodegradable. The delicious doza, tandoori chicken, kebabs, and a variety of dipping sauces came until I was more than content.
Hungry yet? What is your favorite type of Indian food?
Thanks for stopping by!