This is the age of churning things out. A successful movie goes into a zillion sequels. Twenty years from now we will be watching Terminator 53 with a digitally enhanced Arnie and ‘loving it’. Writers are no longer allowed to write stand-alone books, instead they write series of three, five, seven or even more. Brandon Sanderson has committed to ten books in his Stormlight Archives series! How different can each book be? And does a story have to be stretched out over so many door stoppers? Because that is what they are. But everyone wants to write the next Harry Potter or its adult equivalent. One successful vampire series gave rise to a dedicated vampire section in a book shops. Endless dystopian fantasies are the new trend or Fifty Shades of Puke or whatever colour is trending right now.
We don’t like it but we can understand that there is a certain amount of comfort involved in reading and watching the same thing over and over again. But the need for standardisation is also spilling over to food and that is worrying.
PS: It’s bad enough that we associate cultures or regions to one type of food which is probably a local invention and nothing to do with the respective cuisine. The best example would be the Gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian which is considered standard Chinese fare in India but is unheard of and definitely unavailable in China.
LL: And Indian food in England is chicken tikka masala which is probably a British hybrid of the butter chicken and the chicken tikka.
PS: And most people do not know what a vindaloo is in India and the Goans probably won’t recognise it as being the same as their dish.
LL: People never realise and are not willing to accept that the food from another region can be more varied and subtle than the limited offering on restaurant menus.
PS: Well, the Americans come off the worst as their food is defined by McDonalds in most places! And there is so much more which is lost in the over simplistic interpretation of cuisines in restaurants.
LL: The lowest common denominator of each cuisine survives. So South Indian food in the north is filter coffee, dosa and idly with the occasional vada thrown in.
PS: And north Indian food in the south is just variations on paneer, irrespective of the weather and the fact that Punjabi dishes do not represent all of north Indian cuisine.
LL: We are so content and comfortable with certain interpretations of a cuisine that we are almost shocked when someone serves us something different. Or they find comfort in drawing parallels. Like tempuras are really expensive bhajjis or pancakes are only dosas. The worst thing is that the food at home is also beginning to reflect the standard recipes.
PS: That’s because we all get recipes off the net these days.
LL: It’s all your fault, you gave me those pithas to eat and that set me grumbling about how we often miss out on foods which are so yummy but which are not available except in home kitchens. I didn’t even know such a thing existed!