Today at lunch I had a small bite of lasagna with pesto sauce. I could not contain myself and shouted “I think I just had a foodgasm!” The only guy at the table replied, “I don’t think I know what that is.” Diva Goddess was kind enough to explain.
Each time I go to my local branch of Godrej’s Nature’s Basket in Delhi’s Defence Colony, I am so impressed by the range of foods available and by how nice the sales people are that I forgive the shop for the sloppy check-out system and for how long it takes to pay for my groceries as clerks struggle with keyboards and stare bemusedly at bar codes.
But they are not the only ones to be bemused. Increasingly I find that as we, in urban India, cope with this harvest of plenty, we are bewildered and confused by the vast array of foods on offer. What do we do with them? What are they meant for, exactly? How will they make dinner more exciting for us? What recipes will work? Will our families like this new fangled stuff? And so on.
Nature, famously, abhors a vacuum. But some cooks have learned to feel differently. Step through the swinging doors at the back of a top restaurant like Alinea in Chicago, and you may find vacuum pumps being used to reduce cooking juices into concentrated sauces, to distill essential oils from fruits and vegetables, to dehydrate chips or to brew coffee.
The New Scientist writes that lab-grown meat might be a reality soon, with one scientist estimating that he is six months away from creating a sausage, a year from a hamburger. Synthetic meat could have all sorts of positives, chiefly that it would be cruelty-free and eco-friendly (“cultured meat will require 99 per cent less land than beef farming”). Vegetarians tempted by the siren scent of bacon would surely rejoice to indulge without the guilt.
Why you like Sunday brunch says a lot about who you are. If you are a hotelier or a restaurateur, you like Sunday brunch because it represents a great opportunity for profit. You construct the meal around low cost ingredients such as eggs and bakery products (muffins, waffles etc.) and then charge a huge amount, throwing in champagne or sparkling wine which you have procured at enormous discount from some wine importer.