Good food is music for the soul and what makes one generation sway may not work for another. In recent times, food has seen a sea change given the attention and importance being devoted to health. People are increasingly becoming aware of the repercussions of processed foods and turning away from these.
Be it grains, dairy or meats, least processed and indigenous foods are becoming the buzz words for their freshness, easy availability, cost effectiveness and nutrient retention qualities, among others. The future of food is definitely in the past. On its way out is the fascination with processed foods like supermarket bread, industrially flavoured ice cream, gelatinous milkshakes, assembly line puddings and premix teas. On the way in are healthier foods that our fore fathers swore by.
So what’s seducing international palates these days? Here is a look at 5 ancient vegetarian foods that are making a comeback.
So you think quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, flax seeds, buckwheat and millet are some new age foods? You couldn’t be further from the truth. These super foods have been around for ages. Our forefathers had them as a part of their everyday diet, but it is only now that we are rediscovering the benefits of these ancient grains and seeds. Rich in nutrients and high in fibre, they are featuring as the stars in salads, mains and even desserts at the most highly rated eateries around the world.
Who wants a buttered slice of cardboard to start their day? Hint – not many people in 2017! The limelight is now increasingly off processed foods and on bread that is home-made and full of coarsely milled grains (and waiting to be dipped into home-made dips and curries). Coarse loafs incorporate locally available grains and mill them to a consistency where you can feel the taste and texture of each grain. A single serving gives you much more texture per bite than the factory packed variety. In fact, more and more people are becoming aware of the nasties in supermarket breads and going in for fresh bakes from cafes and bakeries, or baking it at home. Free from preservatives and colouring, these might cost a few extra bucks, but are surely worth it.
Artisanal Ice Creams
If frozen-desserts masquerading as ice creams in mind numbing, chalky flavours aren’t your idea of decadence, you are not alone. As the market for home-made ice creams in seasonal flavours rises, so does the number of small batch producers who churn them. Made using hand held churners with indulgent chunks of garden fresh fruits and nuts in the creamiest cream that hasn’t been thickened with additives, these are made the old school way and people are lapping them up like never before. Think freshly shaved tender coconut, home candied fruits, caramelised nuts, chunks of mango and a medley of hand-picked berries that waltz on your palette.
Green tea and infusions have been around for a while and on the same lines, there has been a revival of indigenous teas from different regions. The matcha mania is not built around a new supplement but is actually an ancient tea rich in amino acids that was grown in shade, deveined and stemmed before being processed and finely ground to a powder – the now widely recognised vibrant green colour. Another hot favourite is white tea that brims with antioxidants.
On one of his sailing trips in the late-mid 1700s, Captain James Cook, made his crew eat sauerkraut which resulted in exceptional survival record and health of shipmates, attributed to the fermented cabbage. This German food has made a huge comeback with people heralding it as the new super food and delicacy. Before freezing, refrigeration and easy transport was available, fermenting was a method of preserving food. Other regions have their share of fermented foods such as the popular Kimchi from Korea, the European Dill pickles and Atsara in Philippines. Even fermented fish, the putrid smelling but much loved Fesikh, is lapped up by tourists to Egypt.
Give these foods a go and your taste buds will rejoice while your health thanks you for it!