If we were to go back in time and study the relationship between humans and food, we’d have to probably go right to the beginning of human history, over 2 million years ago, when early humans relied on hunting and gathering for survival. As we evolved, so did our methods of acquiring, preparing, and consuming food, leading to a rich and diverse culinary culture that has today been shaped by various factors such as geography, culture, and technology. Food is a powerful tool that not only sustains our physical well-being, but also nourishes our soul. It has the ability to bring people together, evoke memories, and at the same time, create new ones. With every new bite that you take, you experience something new that stands as a reminder of our capabilities of not just self preservation, but the capacity to take care of others around us.
The preparation of food takes time, inclination, skill and mindspace; all the things, in today’s day and age, that we either lack in varying proportions or are amiss all together. As we hustle every morning in this fast-paced, ever-evolving world, it is imperative that we prioritize our health and well-being; and the food we consume plays a critical role in this pursuit. It’s more than just wolfing down that bowl of oatmeal, cornflakes, slices of bread in the morning as you’re racing against the clock to get to your next task of the day. There’s a certain level of importance that nutritionally balanced food plays in our lives. Ultimately, what we put into our bodies determine how healthy we are.
Time aside, there are a few more factors that stand in the way of you and your home cooked meal. To begin with, cooking a tasty meal takes some amount of knowledge or experience, of both ingredients and equipment. Then there are other factors such as personal preferences, dietary restrictions, freshness of ingredients, and of course, ultimately, taste. Finding the equilibrium to all of these takes time and effort.
Takeout and online delivery may seem like a simple enough solution. There’s no dearth of options available, even healthy ones. But you cannot control other factors like the cost involved, lack of control over the taste, texture, hygiene to state the very least; and let’s face it, as much we talk about nutrition, takeout food is usually high in salt, sugar, and fat. Not the ideal addition you need in your life. Further, the processing of food, which can include dehydration and the use of additives for longer preservation, can lead to a build-up of toxins in your body in the long run.
The other option is to either have an at home chef, or DIY your next meal. But even the best of cooks have bad days; the days when your mind wanders into a pondering state while your potato fry is burning in its sins. After a tiring 14-hour day at work, when all you want to do is switch off your mind, Netflix and chill with a good ol’ bowl of home cooked food, you find yourself all up in arms against the long battle with pots and pans in the kitchen. After that hour-long ordeal even if you manage to fight all the fatigue, stress, and effort, cooking the same set of 5 recipes that you know, everyday in-turn, gets super boring.
For some of us, it's a matter of mindspace while for others it's a matter of skill and time. From planning and grocery shopping to preparation and cleanup, cooking a meal has become a frustrating experience. So many options available, what to pick? How much to pick? How fresh are the vegetables? The queue at the supermarket is too long. Do I have enough of all that I need? - The fatigued, wandering mind gets back to its anxious rant. All. Over. Again. And even if you manage to fight all of this, finally finish cooking that meal for yourself, the last thing you want to do is face the aftermath of dirty dishes and a cluttered kitchen.
All in all, food is important; and thinking through the process of food preparation is also essential. But finding a sustainable, long-term solution is just as indispensable. The problem of the humble need for home cooked chole chawal, dal and sabzi is colossal. In this era, while we have automated and solved many complex problems all to make our lives a lot easier, why not solve one more problem - that of food? Simply put, your next meal should be one of comfort, happiness and nourishment. So the next time you come home, return to a meal that’s made for you, just the way you always wanted.