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Cornwall 2011

Eating, like we used to!

Chew, don’t gulp! was a dinner table lesson often laid down to me, in my early Bengali Indian
childhood. Three decades and a million food adventures away: the journey of a thousand food miles
still, begins and ends, with following food traditions and its hidden nutritional benefits.
The rainbow of my multicultural food vignettes began with childhood memories dug deep into humble
Indian upbringings. Be it the use of certain spices as mood food, to using roots and stems to cure
stomach ailments, using plant extracts as sources of sugar and salt: was only a common, economic and
practical happening in frugal Bengali households. The significance of natural pure ingredients,
untouched by wax, or bleach or any artificial preservative naturally enhanced the immune systems
while using banana leaves as crockery alternative was only common.
Influenced slowly by industrialization and modernization, packets of Maggi convenience
noodles were trickling plentifully into villages that did not have the provision of fresh water to boil
them in! However, there still was a pocket of the society that believed in fresh ingredients, bought
daily, in season and cooked at home using traditional methods, making the food fit to be offered to the
Gods, as well as to satisfy human consumption.
Imbibing upon taking up cooking as a noble way of discovering food cultures, while serving
the humanity at the same time, my food journey has taken me to some very interesting pit stops. Be it
the traditional Aloo Paratha in Delhi served with a freshly smashed onion, the Spiced Sorpotel in Goa,
the Margoog in Riyadh, to the Saffron Cake in Cornwall, what binds food is the tradition.
Traditional eating habits in Cornwall, is as old as time itself. Humble Pasties, awe inspiring
Stargazie pies, or the lesser known Kiddly broth; there is a rhyme and reason behing every special
concoction. The Cornish diet, is based upon traditional beliefs and practices that proves itself to be
right over and over again. A ploughman’s crib, a fisherman’s croust, and a huntsman’s mossal, will
withstand every test of time.
You are what you eat! Although traditional Cornish diet included doses of animal fat, and
dripping, heavy physical activities and walks helped digest and assimilate most of the extras. Half of
modern day diseases are indigestion based. The future clearly is in our hands. The sooner we realize
this, sooner we can make a difference to our own lives.