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Globalisation: Traditional food has become passé!
Globalisation has played havoc with our food habits. Traditional food items have vanished. The premium put on time implies, everything, food included, has to be available instantly so time is saved. Should it be at the cost of our becoming junk?
 “GLOBALIZATION, IN simpler terms means, global utilization; utilization of resources and services, no matter whose resources and what way one is utilizing them”. Globalization has opened up numerous avenues for making our life more comfortable and convenient. It is by way of exchange of markets, services, products, conveniences, technologies and opportunities that these days assume a seemingly healthy and buoyant look.  Of course, food is also a component that makes our life more comfortable and enjoyable.  Are these exotic dishes that we devour every day going to let us enjoy this already comfortable life for long? It is a disturbing question indeed. If we look at the statistics on life-style diseases, the answer to this question is a resounding negative.
 
Since countries keep their borders open for commercial interaction, international food chains like Kentucky, MacDonald, Pizza and their domestic variants have started operating in third-world countries. These companies are but subsidiaries of a global capital culture and their aim is nothing but ‘capitalizing.’ They don’t look into the long-term effects of promoting an unhealthy food culture in countries such as India. They invest huge sums in the market with a clear eye on profit and in that pursuit, there is no room for social commitment or obligation of that sort.  Globalization in simpler terms means global utilization, utilization of resources and services, no matter whose resources and what way is one utilizing them. 
 
Life is getting busier with each passing day and time is in short supply. The number of people who relate time in terms of money is increasing and we do not have to talk about spending hours in the kitchen cooking age-old traditional dishes. The market outside our kitchen is full of eateries, restaurants, hotels, drive-ins and eat-outs. Their mouth-watering culinary creations are much more than what is needed to stop our kitchens from smoking. People, irrespective of age, feel much better and cosy with what is dished out by these outlets than with any oft-quoted delicacy we find in our tourism promotion brochures. When our dishes fetch foreign currency through tourism, a junk food culture creeps in, like a killer disease and eats away the very fabric of our culinary heritage.  .
 
Our children don’t learn anything from their mothers. The aroma of food is missing from our kitchen and above all, our kids don’t converge on the dining table. Rather they sit in front of the TV munching chips, choco-bars, wafers, lays and kur kureis. A burger with a cola, a Kentucky with a little sauce, a pizza followed by what it takes with it is more prestigious and image-promoting than a cuppa and meen curry or idli and sambar or dosa and chutni. This state of mind has been created by international food peddlers. We are addicted and addicted chronically too, to additives and taste-boosters.
 
What would happen to our culinary boasts like Meen curry, Olan, Kaalan, Aviyal, Sambar and rasam after a few years? Are they going to be seen as specials only during Onams and Sankranthis or are we going to prepare them only during occasions like marriages or similar social functions? Our food culture is dying out of ignorance – ignorance of healthy habits. We are dying of more and more filling foods.  Our Puttu, Appam, Idiyappam, Paper / Nei / Masaala and Onion Dosas are fast becoming museum pieces of the Indian kitchen. Yes, there is a positive side to it. We can market them by creating a new tourism genre called kitchen and culinary tourism. We may display our three-piece ovens, shell spoons and spatulas, earthen dishes and cups, pans and potteries and why not our chinaware, chimney sills and exhaust holes.
 
Consumerism assumes a new ‘avatar’ in this food scenario. Supermarkets are showcasing tinned, frozen, packed, cooked, semi-cooked, processed and ready-to-serve food items in large varieties and quantities and these not-difficult-to-buy food packs are helping housewives save plenty of time. But the time so saved is unfortunately wasted by watching TV programmes sponsored by these very multinational food giants. It is the TV commercials that we watch more than the TV programmes. This leads to diseases driven by a sedentary lifestyle.
 
This ‘avatar’ of modern commerce takes away the life, culture and the healthy eating habits of our country by making us believe that we cannot live without their products. How about our products? They are desis. So they lack colour, prestige and value. We don’t produce. We don’t promote. We simply consume our own health and healthy eating habits, and we prestigiously end up in ‘corporate healthcare facilities’. There is a saying, ‘you are what you eat’. And now we are what we eat, viz., junk! A little food for thought is here, right before all of us! 
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