Celebrating World Food Day: The joy of sticking to a single palette

A South Indian-vegetarian and food enthusiast rekindles his love for the conventional palette on World Food Day…

In times when variety is the spice of the hour (be it any arena and not only food), the value of consistency and monotony is quite undervalued and doesn’t quite warrant the attention it deserves. World Food Day is a reminder to appreciate, recognise, celebrate and relish the food around us in every possible form. It also helps us take a look at a diminishing breed that prefers a certain palette/cuisine for the major part of their lives and doesn’t necessarily want to experiment with their choices. I certainly belong to that tribe.

Being a stickler for South Indian (vegetarian) cuisine, I could say nothing could probably make up my love for monotony – say, the delectable mix of a sambar/dal, curry, rasam and curd rice in my daily meal. Top it up with a dose of home-made ghee, the crispness of a good papad, a spice-heavy pickle with curd, a mandatory-sweet (from paan to halwa to gulab jamun) and heaven doesn’t seem many miles away. The meal feels complete in every possible way and always leaves me enriched with the variety available in the palette.

The complexity of a well-made sambar is adequately balanced by the innate simplicity of curd rice (and as satiating too). The rasam is a superbly garnished soup that can be both the appetiser and the penultimate dish with equal ease. The conventional breakfast in the morning, in the form of a well-made idli, dosa or an upma can very well set the tone for the day. It doesn’t mean I don’t value the revolution the likes of Swiggy and Zomato have brought about. It has definitely made life easier, several kinds of food across numerous cuisines accessible to many.

The joy of a weekend outing at a restaurant or a Swiggy meal with family is good fun and has brought more variety within the same South Indian-palette that I’ve been inexplicably loyal to. I enjoy an occasional pizza with a friend, a lasagne with a colleague at work, a Subway salad with cousins, but my love for the South Indian palette makes me feel I’ve arrived home. I could probably say my body has become conditioned to think that way.

At the risk of sounding older than my age (27), I feel familiarity is a boon as much as it can be a curse. And food, of course, is dependent on the company you have and is often decided by the other person’s sensibilities too. Have hope to cherish this phase as long as it lasts (I tell this to myself!).

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