Indians and their ancient food practices deserve more attention
Indians have a long history with food, spices, and traditional cooking methods. The legacy that we have passed through various civilizations. It was largely connected with food and related practices as well. Every single tale that was told to us by our Dadi’s and Nani’s somehow involved food in some manner.
A lot of practices that we have inherited from our ancestors are not just habits that are passed on. From smallest acts like sitting and drinking water, not talking while eating, or not chewing loudly were more than just etiquettes.
Many Indian food practices are derived from the ancient Ayurveda practices and all of them more or less have scientific meanings attached to them. We all know the origin of pickles was largely connected to adding flavors in food along with helping the digestion process too.
Here are a few other ancient food practices that Indians follow which have impacted the culinary world at large:
In floors, we trust:
Initially, there were no dining tables and people used to sit on the floor and eat. It was more of a forced lifestyle practice instead of a choice. But even in the modern furniture-driven world, it is advisable to sit on the floor in a cross-legged position to eat.
This is a yoga posture called Sukhasan, which is known to boost blood circulation and also massage the abdominal muscles. Apart from the scientific benefits of this, when you are directly connected to the ground in some manner while eating, it does have an effect on you on a spiritual level.
Ultimately, the food on your plate comes from the earth, and consuming it while being connected to the roots can make a huge difference too.
You are what you eat…in:
Earthenware has been popular since the olden times and now it is making a comeback most innovatively. From the point of view of availability and awareness, different materials like plastic, aluminum steel, or weren’t present at that time.
Earthen utensils like clay pots are known to increase the nutritional value of the food as well. From calcium, iron phosphorus, magnesium, Sulphur, and many other minerals; your food will get enriched with it all. A lot of food items that we eat also tend to react with the utensils. Sometimes items like pickles or curd react with certain elements and cause toxic results.
Let the fingers do the talking:
Imagine you are being served with a plate of piping hot rice served with delicious dal, loaded with ghee with a side of favorite pickle.
Would you dare to pick up a spoon to eat this homely delicacy?
Ancient Shastra recommends eating with hands. According to Ayurveda, human beings not just eat food by initiating their taste senses, but the rest of the sensory organs too. As soon as your hands touch the food, forming a mudra while picking up your food, the sensory organs are activated to keep the prana in check.
The direct connection of your skin with your food also activates the brain signals for releasing digestive juices, helping in the digestion process.
Moreover, have you really eaten a hearty Indian meal unless you have licked all the flavors from your fingers?
The Great Indian Thali Culture:
If you are from India and you haven’t boasted to people about how extensive your Thalis are, what are you even doing?
A wholesome, detailed, rather beautiful, and delicious meal is placed beautifully divided into different parts and portions. The best part about thali is that the components keep varying from one region to another in India. Be it a Rajasthani thali, a Gujarati thali, or a South Indian Thali; the bases are covered under the same category. From bread to rice to pulses to pickles to chutneys to curries and crispy to a dessert; you will find them all.
Not only are these thalis full of flavors, but they are also scientifically healthy, as they keep in mind various factors like portion control, nutritional balance, food pyramid, and more.
The taste and the element of each thali may vary, but one element that remains a constant throughout is our beloved pickle!
These are some of the ancient food practices that are passed on more as a culture than a practice today. Food will always have a rich and pious value in Indian culture. We are a generation of food enthusiasts who will take them ahead from our grandparents to our grandchildren too.
At Goosebumps, we always take pride in being a small carrier or a catalyst in taking forward a little legacy of Indian food culture too.