We usually take our home food for granted.
One reason for this is that it tends to become boring and monotonous after some time. The funny thing is that it does not become so only for those who are eating it but even for those who are cooking it! In the latter case, it may be called decision fatigue!
The reasons for this are several.
Tastes and preferences are very personal attributes and the younger generation has to be led into acquiring tastes of traditional home-cooked food beyond their comfort foods and locally available ingredients. This is a battle that is mostly pitched against the heavily advertised fast food and restaurant industry which finds favor with the younger impressionable lot.
On the other hand, there is a battle to get the older generation to sample, accept and enjoy the exotic, non- Indian cuisines as well but the rigidity of their tastes makes it difficult as they prefer to stick to their own comfort zones especially where food is concerned.
What complicates matters further is that every family member has their own specific likes and dislikes with few items garnering favor with all.
It is the lady of the house who is usually in this tussle of searching for common middle ground and she comes under immense pressure to cater to everyone’s tastes and preferences satisfactorily. Add to it the decision fatigue she undergoes being made to be responsible for resolving this daily repetitive conundrum!
The limited number of the commonly liked dishes and food items then become the ‘least resistance meals’ and are made more often thus further compounding on the monotony of the menu.
There are some easy-to-do things to introduce variety in the daily menus and slowly get the family roped in as well.
One member or the other of the family is always unhappy with the dishes being served!
- The first thing is to include everyone while making the meal plans. This way everyone has an opportunity to articulate what they would like to eat in the next few meals. All that needs to be done then is to include the same in the meal plan, cooked and served accordingly.
The cooking style and flavors seldom change in daily cooking and new dish and cuisine introductions are few and far in between
- One can tackle this by having a day(s) in the week or month (depending upon the ‘appetite for change’ of the family members) where one would try out certain new dishes or recipes. The trick is to have everyone’s support and interest while attempting to cook from new recipes. Sometimes, when the recipe being tried is radically different, a backup meal can be planned for, too to be on the safer side.
The same ingredients are bought and cooked cyclically, in the same manner, that they have always been cooked.
- In a country like ours, where we have a very wide range of different ingredients available all year-round in most places, we are spoilt for choice. Adding to the diversity of our daily food selections thus is very easy. Variety can easily be introduced in our daily menus by bringing in more ingredients than what one is using currently. One can even explore making the same ingredient in a different way rather than making the same dish recipe repetitively as most home kitchens are wont to do.
The dish parings are fixed and standard in most households, eg., a particular vegetable/sabzi is always paired with any one type of Dal/legume.
- This is a no-brainer really and the easiest way, perhaps to create a different meal. Just a little bit of tweaking and one can have a lot more different combinations within the limited offerings. The difference can also be brought in through various pickles or accompaniments as salads, papads, etc.
In most home kitchens, one grows up eating the same kind of food that one ate in one’s parents’ households (plus some) and so it continues, mostly. There may be a bit of exaggeration here but it is not far from the truth that new dishes, new combinations, new recipes in daily home cooking are more of an exception (weekend specials) than a rule.
Keep an eye out for our next blog post which we call “The 100 Plate Project”.
Practicing what we are preaching here!
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