What is Food?
I’ve never been great with writing on cue, however, today, I must convey to you, joy. Specifically the joy of food. I’m going to give you a moment, for the cliched skepticism, of beholding a fat dude talk about his love for food, wear off. We don’t need that kind of bad juju here. That’s the kind of thoughts that blocks our chakras, give us bad vibes and karma, and makes the neighbourhood hippie want to cleanse our auras.
Now that your auras have been thoroughly scrubbed clean, well clean enough to keep Wasim Akram’s challengers at bay, let’s get with the joy-spreading.
Food is joy.
For those of you who look at food as mere fuel, this may be a hard concept to grasp. I also don’t pretend I can change for perspective in one post. I can however, plant the seeds. To begin with, think of any really joyous day in your life. We’re all likely to have multiple. It may be a particularly happy Eid-ul-Fitr, the day you got married (or divorced), the birth of your child or just a particularly happy day at home doing nothing. You’ll be able to see the constants right away. Your closest friends and family around you, you in your happy place, regardless of it being your comfort zone or not, a sense of celebration and more likely than not, some form of food and drink.
United We Eat
Regardless of the culture, religion or lack there off, or even the climate, people from all over the world come together over food. On joyous occasions and on regular days. We build memories through our daily lives and our interactions. Interactions with people, with the world and the objects around us. Those memories then lead to associations with feelings.
For example, it’s the first Eid you remember as a child, and you snuck out a gulab jamun from the box set out on the table. The box you expressly were told was for guests only. You couldn’t resist and went for it anyway. You remember it being the most intensely flavourful bite you’ve ever had and you relish it. That made the scolding you got later all worth it. Now, whenever you have a gulab jamun, you can’t help but smile.
Joy through nostalgia basically. That isn’t the only way one can derive joy from food however. Sometimes the act of eating can be joyous too. Not if you are just guzzling down food hurriedly and moving on to the next bit of monotony. That’s only allowed when ramen is involved as far as I’m concerned. Like every other thing in our busy lives though, sometimes just slowing down and taking it all in can grant us immense joy.
Take a perfectly baked chocolate chunk cookie for example.
The sight of one should be more than enough to floor any poor, unfortunate, cookie-starved soul. A gorgeous amber brown surface, crisp at the edges. Crisp but with that ever so slight five implying a gorgeously gooey centre. The surface isn’t boringly perfect though. It’s impeccably craggily, with ridges forming canyons and valleys of pure deliciousness.
Hidden in the valleys, peaking at the world from their refuge, are the chocolate chunks. Milk and dark, cosy in their grottos, waiting for the hungry traveller to break in. So they can engulf their taste buds in their warm, Aztec-spiced, endorphin releasing embrace. Some even breach the surface, beckoning us into the dark abyss.
And I haven’t even gotten to the taste yet.
Taste, which should be nothing short of an explosion. Of flavours and textures. Your palate shouldn’t be assaulted with a barrage of monotone sweetness. You should get molasses-heavy caramel notes from brown sugar, that too on top of the base sweetness of white sugar. You should also behold the heady, aromatic sweetness of the milk chocolate, as it cuts through the deep bitter intensity of the dark. Now imagine a subtle roasted nuttiness coming from the almond flour, hiding in the background and some sea salt to enhance and offset everything.
I can’t imagine a bite more bursting with joy.
I may also have sneakily described my very own chocolate chunk cookie recipe. Had I mentioned it before, you’d have decided I was tooting my own horn and not read any further. I don’t, however, imagine that this cookie is the best in the world. It is the best I’ve made though and it did provide me with immense joy. I used a Martha Stewart recipe as a starting point. I kept adding enough changes to make it truly my own.
Probably the tastiest experiment I’ve ever done. And it got a rare ‘tasty’ out of my mother. That’s a whole different kind of joy altogether! I know I know, you’re after the recipe now. I mean, I did go all ham, describing it to you. Just scroll down and you’ll find the recipe card.
If you try it, make sure to tell me how you liked it!
Please note that using this recipe for commercial gain, without proper credits or other prerequisites is considered copyright infringement and may result in legal action.