I am not a professional food critic, or artisan, or chef and definitely not a nutritionist. But I do love trying new cuisines, experimenting in my choices and usually tend to not eat any Indian menu when I step out of my house (considering I eat it every day at home!). Another activity (other than gluttony) I frequently indulge in, is seeing a lot of those lifestyle shows on TLC etc. where they explore various cultures and eat all sorts of traditional and local dishes. We have “Highway on my plate“, “Chakh Le India“, and lots more, where the anchors of the show travel from Kullu- Manali to Kovalam and take us to all kinds of tiny hideaways. But my latest favorite in this genre is “Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyan“.
A series of episodes takes you through the evolution of food and dishes in all parts of India, from the royal and street culture of old times. Mostly focus is on the royal families and how their food still influences our daily meal. How dishes like galawati kabab were born in Lucknow, how the festival of Lohri brought to life so many recipes. Why is Delhi famous for its chaat? From Tanjore’s idli to Gujarat’s dabeli, every small street snack has a story behind it. Food Historians and food enthusiasts like Dr. Pushpesh Pant give us plenty of anecdotes, both amusing and interesting, which changes the way we see even our every own simple khichdi!
Of course I related and found most interesting, the episodes on Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kolkata and Punjab. But equally riveting and informative were the Assam and Orissa diaries. Food isn’t something we eat just to live, we weave our festivals, traditions around our food and harvest. And when you see a show like this, you realise that the pizza in Naples and the hamburger in New York will never hold the charm that the Daal Baati or the Dum Biryani do.
Great camerawork, perfect Hindi narration and incredible geographical and historical information, this show gives us yet another reason to be proud of our Indian heritage.