For the last three weeks, we have been surviving on the multifaceted vegetable that is potato. Since we aren’t stepping out to buy perishable items like vegetables frequently, we are mostly eating aloo in its various forms of glory. Stuff it in parantha, fry it, saute it, curry it, kneed it into a dough for gnocchi; potato is life right now. A month ago, my potato intake wouldn't be more than once or twice a week. Having lived in a hostel for five years, where this vegetable was part of two out of three meals served, I am not very fond of it. Which makes me wonder, have our eating habits changed under the lockdown? Has it transformed us from fussy, spoilt eaters who would scrunch their noses at the humble lauki, the pasta connoisseurs who would return their spaghetti at a restaurant if it wasn’t al dante? How is everyone holding up? How’s that pot of khichdi coming along?
- Has the coronavirus lockdown transformed us from fussy, spoilt eaters to humble ones?
- With limited resources at our disposal, we are making peace with what we have.
- Is this transition worth keeping once the lockdown is over?
Salad now means chunkily sliced pieces of tomatoes and cucumber, just like it used to before roughage went global. Oh and the easily available white bread; how many of us have gone back to embrace it under the lockdown?
Why these sudden musings on how far the picky eaters have come? I saw a post from Mint Lounge editor Anindita Ghose on Twitter today, “This lockdown has made me redefine my relationship with maida. It is one of peace and acceptance,” and it was absolutely relatable. Just think about it. Most of us fuss so much over what we eat, be it because of taste buds or fitness. But I haven’t seen a single post about kale salad in the last month. In fact, I have seen a rise in pictures and posts on home-cooked simple meals. Yes, we are making chhole bhature, lasagna, baking sourdough bread and pies, but it is as if we have fallen in love all over again with the simplicity and ease of daal chawal and sabzi roti. Salad now means chunkily sliced pieces of tomatoes and cucumber, just like it used to before roughage went global. Oh and the easily available white bread; how many of us have gone back to embrace it under the lockdown?
I won’t call myself a picky eater, but in the absence of restaurant meals and takeaways, even condiments like achar and papad seem to be enough to satiate that desire to eat something spicy and savoury. Are we eating better, despite the limited availability? I think most of us are conscious of our privilege to realise that it is not even a question. There are many who are going to bed empty stomach, so one woman’s dull dal roti could be a luxury to another. Keeping that in mind one has to be grateful and embrace this change. Besides, interesting or not, food cooked at home is mostly healthier than what you can procure from outside.
Are we eating better, despite doing so based on availability? I think most of us are so conscious of our privilege enough to realise that that is not even a question. We are eating better than most.
When the pandemic subsides, most of us will perhaps go back to our old eating habits. Oatmeal bread will replace white bread on our shelves, some will rush to the supermarket to pick up a bunch or two of Arugula and ignore the desi serrated kakadi lying right beside it. Thai curries and ramens will replace dal chawal meals. Bring the economy back on its track, eating right to get back into shape, we can procure and thus we eat; there could be many reasons, each valid to an extent.
But until that day comes, let us keep finding happiness, satiety and comfort in what we eat. The double zero flour might not be good for your waist, but as Ghose pointed out in her tweet, our relationship with food right now needs to be of peace and acceptance. And who knows, some of us might want to carry these virtues in our eating habits long after the lockdown is over. A pandemic of this scale holds the potential to change our perception regarding what we seek from life in ways we yet do not know.
Photo credit: Medical News Today
The views expressed are the author's own.