Culinary experiences Food Think Me-Time

Top 10 Culinary Project Ideas for 2019

Ankita Vaidya
Written by Ankita Vaidya
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Happy Wednesday girls! I am sure you have enjoyed this past week with friends and family, reflected on those wonderful memories from 2018 and treated yourself with some festive food.

Last week, while I was shopping (rather window shopping) at a local mall, my eyes caught this huge, attractive display. The display looked enticing: gorgeous packaging, beautiful colours, and attractive arrangements of what looked like books from a 20 ft distance. Now who does not like books! So I decided to step into the store to take a closer look at this magnificent display which had dazzling shades of gold, rose gold, wine red, ruby and strawberry rouge.

Few steps closer and I realised it was nothing but a 2019 diary display! I was absolutely dumbfounded and thought, “Man, they did a good job!’’ Anyway, I picked up a few copies that I found the most attractive of all. There was one thing common to all and that was NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.

Every diary I touched had this elaborate section to jot down your resolutions. And that’s when I wondered what would I fill this section with? Since I belong to the category of ‘Don’t-believe-in-resolutions’, I came up with a list of a few activities under the title ‘2019 Culinary Project Ideas’. So here I am, sharing these trendy, quirky, contemporary ideas which could be your ‘resolutions’ for 2019 or just a fun activity to plan with friends and family!

#1 Heritage Week

This is a super fun activity, especially for those moms with teenage kids. Once a month or a fortnight, ask your children (or you may do it yourself) to research about a certain state/ culture/ ethnicity of the country. They may gather information like food, climate, geographical features, dressing culture, language etc. And then, as a family, you create a menu based on this theme. Cook the regional food and celebrate by watching a movie or documentary related to this topic.

Example: Every 2nd Saturday: January– Coastal Maharashtra Cuisine. Watch a documentary on Koli community; understand their history, crop cycles, attire etc. Food: Bombil fry, kolambi kalvan, solkadi

#2 Globally Local

This is a similar concept as the above, except we step out of the country and this entire earth becomes our platform. Pick a country, research their lifestyle, food, geography etc. Have a small presentation before dinner, and celebrate the culture.

Example: Country: Morocco | Food: Lamb Tagine and Couscous, kafta, ras el hanout etc.

Country: Japan | Food: Sushi, Sashimi, Soba, Kimchi, Miso etc.

#3 MasterChef Ingredient

Pick an ingredient of the week (example: Rice), based on what’s locally available at that time of the year. Visit a plantation of this ingredient if possible. Study the different forms in which it can consumed, different festivals that involve this ingredient (Laxmi Pujan, Weddings, Lohri). Have a small documentary show on this ingredient, plan a meal around it. Include a small story by the grandparents. Enjoy an educational weekend with your family!

#4 Food Tales

This is more of an activity for young adults, newly married couples or just plain foodies. Visit your relatives, aunties, uncles, grandparents and conduct a family cooking class. Learn some family recipes from them, take down notes, help them cook and clean. Everyone can then sit down for a nice family meal. Soon enough, you will have your own collection of recipes and the contributors will be your near and dear ones.

#5 Be your own Sommelier

Another fantastic activity for travelers, or for people who love to indulge in a particular food item. Example- tea, coffee, chocolate, Merlot, Chardonnay etc. Visit the plantation or the vineyards, research, taste, make notes and be that person who talks ‘chocolate’ or ‘coffee’ or ‘wine’.

#6 To the roots

To the roots is an outdoor activity where we can visit local farmers, or join local farming projects. Help the farmers in any way that you can, volunteer on the farm, spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. You learn where and how food grows, you use it to prepare your own meals and it’s very much recreational.

#7 Perceive & Preserve

This activity is great if your grandparents are still around or if you belong to a family that makes a year’s worth of pickle, jam or chunda or papad or similar foods. It’s a great art to learn, especially making papads. There are so many varieties of papads that Maharashtrians alone use- mirgunda, poha papad, kurdai, nachni papad, batata papad, sabudana papad etc. It is an art worth perceiving and definitely preserving for our future generations.

#8 Garden to Kitchen

This is the easiest activity of all. Plant simple ingredients in your balcony garden like coriander, methi, mustard greens, chili, curry leaves. These are not high maintenance at all and something that we regularly use in our cooking. If you have a little more space in your yard, you may also plant a lemon tree, chikoo tree etc. Thus you know what you have grown is organic, pesticide free and highly nutritious. Involving children in such activities will make their minds sharper and active. iPads are out, hands-on gardening is in!

#9 Family heritage cookbook

This is, by far, my favourite activity. In fact, as a foodie and a family person, I myself am working on a similar project. Use online tools like cloud or G-suite for this project. Very technical, yet personal. Form a group of foodie relatives and friends. Ask each member to contribute a recipe or two. Every family has a photographer, by default! And guess what, they get to capture interesting family and food shots. Do this all year round, make a collection of recipes and family secrets. Publish the book, and distribute a copy of this book to every family. Something absolutely worth handing over to next generation.

#10 Raise a food lover

Yet another activity for moms with younger kids. Make your children fall in love with food. Let them be aware of where food comes from, how it is prepared or how much effort it takes to make food. We certainly do not want a generation that thinks doodh comes from bhaiyya. When your kids are ready to move out for university or work, as a mother, you should not be worried about their ‘khaana-peena’. By now, they should have adulted enough to make their own breakfast and dal-chawal-roti-subzi. Involve your little ones in daily kitchen chores. Offer allowances for their ‘services’- be it washing dishes or rolling out their own chapati. Let them play with rice, and teach them how it’s cooked! And thus, raise a food lover and not a ‘take-out’ generation.

 

Celebrate a culture and help your next generation gain some valuable knowledge that is beyond the scope of textbooks. Let us become an active part of global events and this way, we will not only respect other cultures but will develop an appreciation towards ours. Like I mentioned, these activities are cleverly crafted to involve children and adults. A sense of family is very important, as we all know, and conducting such fun events will help our younger ones learn and appreciate food. Today, we live in a world where fast food chains, processed foods and sugar-packed refined products are more than popular. Needless to mention what ill-effects they bring to the table. Therefore, here are 10 activities that will help us keep our culinary heritage alive and thriving in the blood if our future generations. Let us know which activity is your favourite or you plan of doing this year. I am definitely doing #9 and I shall keep you all posted about the same!

|| Anna Data Sukhi Bhavo.|| [Let the food -provider be blessed and happy]

 

 

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About the author

Ankita Vaidya

Ankita Vaidya

A computer engineer on paper, chef by profession! Being born in a gastronomically enthu household was sheer luck and definitely some good karma. I left India at the age of 22 with 3 suitcases full of parents’ love, passion and determination to chase my dreams.

A connoisseur of Indian cuisine, I enjoy sharing my love for traditional Indian cooking wherever I go. Nurtured with extreme affection, this ‘lil princess’ is all set to touch millions of hearts with her holistic zeal for food and cooking.

I believe life is like a box of spices- though some moments may seem overwhelming, a thoughtful use and correct application will definitely give you extraordinary results. Feel free to share food related anything with me ‘cause I am a student for life!

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