Our younger generation has hardly tasted the traditional Indian dishes like Aloo Ki Bhujia- the dish made out of tiny cubes of potatoes steamed or cooked in cumin and flake red chilies. We donot find time even on Sundays to cherish this dish with spicy omelet along with a heavily layered paratha. To add to your mouth watering a glass of lasi (the liquid prepared from curd) can be added at the breakfast table.
Have we ever imagined that Indian cuisine speaks volumes about its history? If you still doubt that Indian foods have their own origin, try to find Lizzie Collingham’s book ‘Curry’ (a mixture of spices) where she traces flavors of Persian, Parsi, Moguls, Portuguese and British on Indian foods. In the areas adjoining Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Indian food is heavily influenced by Afghan grilled foods and wonderful combination of Bar B Ques.
Like Aloo Ki Bhujia, several of traditional Indian dishes are being lost before our eyes. Our grandmas have taken those wonderful recipes to their chests in graves. The only reason that they were never succeeded in passing on these wonderful recipes is that new generation did not take interest into kitchen. They are accustomed of seeing their mothers, even grandmothers paying regular visits to that tiny room which we were used to call rasoi.
In our generation the when a young woman was married she was taken to kitchen after few days of her marriage to cook the best she can and that best dish should be sweet in taste and large in quantity to be served into the houses of near and dear ones. Our ears have forgotten those proud claims at the dining table ‘yeh mein nay banaya hey’.
There are several factors that contributed towards dying of Indian cuisine. Up to 50 years from now, it was a tradition among families that mothers passed on the family recipes to their daughters. With the need of education for middle class families, the daughters started attending schools, colleges and universities and their ties with kitchen and traditions associated with family recipes broke down. While women got independence, exposure in professional fields and their say in social and political matters, the age old link between women and kitchen lost in between.
The shortage of time for cooking for women also contributed towards losing Indian culinary traditions as several of traditional recipes need a lot of time to prepare the meal from scratches. This scenario was the most suitable for indisk restaurants, fast food establishments and dabhas. The women started asking for dining out, having prepared meals from restaurants at night and on holidays. The working couples seldom find time to cook.
It is only a matter of time when we Indian cuisine will be lost into the rapidly changing social and economic conditions of Indians.