One extremely cynical-about-India person I know who has left desh long ago to live abroad once said in so many and more words- In India one thing is very obnoxious- people are always talking about food.
I reserved my thoughts to myself at that point of time but personally I felt that such people who comment on "Indians and our Indianess" are perfect assholes and are hiding within themselves a deeper secret self of being extremely greedy towards food and feel a certain entitlment towards home made food just because they have come from abroad- food that they do not get abroad because there is no concerned Indian aunty running behind them discussing what breakfast lunch or dinner they will want to eat.
Yes, food defines Indians in so many different ways - the lovely map that I got from the net is just one way of saying that Indian cuisine is not just about curry! We celebrate with food. Every festival has a distinct mix of dishes that need to be made. We show care with food- we send across a box of stuff to neighbours on any ordinary day and a box of special stuff during festivals. Indian hospitality begins and ends with food. People who come home are loaded with snacks and are not allowed to leave without having dinner.
I have always loved food (and sadly, it shows!). But love for food apart, I am not the greedy types.
Allow me to explain the differences between foodies and greedies.
1. Foodies love to share down to the last morsel, the Greedy ones hate sharing, err down to the last morsel- A foodie may look like a greedy grabbing the last bit of food off the plate but what distinguishes them from the greedy is that before doing that they will always ask if you want because they do not mind sharing. In fact they like to spread the joy. Because they love community building of people who enjoy the same food. The greedy will never ask. Just keep eating without asking if you want a bit. Because they dread it that you might actually say yes and they will lose a morsel that could have gone into their stomach.
2. Foodies love to plan meals- breakfast, lunch, dinner, tiffin boxes are the highlights of their day. There is a fine way to distinguish between the foodies and the greedies. The greedy ones do not plan meals and all. They just watch out for leftovers, or treats that have been bought in the last purchase and sporadically plan their next meal or lunch box which consist of those leftovers or treats- obviously if you blatantly say give me all that is left over- no one else will want to eat that.
3. Foodies love to take photos of food. Because food is also aesthetics. Food is used to communicate. Food is communication. Food can become an entire blog post. A great part of my salary comes from food. So obviously, I have to take lots and lots of pictures of the source of my salary.
The greedy ones may be just afraid that their food may run away so they take those snaps.
4. The foodies love to eat and so do the greedies but there is a subtle difference in their approach. Let me illustrate. Lets say I bought a box of cashew sweets to serve my house guests. Suppose I offer to pack some for my houseguest to take home since there is a lot of it, they will eagerly and gladly accept. But if I offer the same to a greedy, they will vehementally refuse then strategise the entire night and the next morning, when everyone is fast asleep, they will pack almost the entire box of sweets for themselves and not even have the courtsey to inform the host.
And suppose, they do agree to take a pack when offered, the greedies will pack the choicest pieces from the chicken curry and leave only the gravy behind for the host, whereas a foodie will take a good mix and leave enough for the host because foodies believe in sharing/ spreading the joy.
5. Foodies and Greedies both love food but Foodies will proclaim their love. Greedies will always say- I don't eat sweets, or I don't eat mithai because they don't want people to suspect that the person who ate up the entire ice cream on the sly are the greedy in their midst.
6. Foodies call you home for dinner/ lunch because they genuinely want to feed you. Greedies call you out of guilt- just to do a return favour so that they do not have the cosmic debt in their accounts.
7. Foodies will ask you to bring their favourite food for them. Greedies will also do the same. The difference is that foodies will also get a treat bag of your favourite food for you and the greedies will never do that. Just demand. Demand with a sense of entitlement.
So are you a foodie or a greedy or you are the ones who eat only to survive?
Believe me, I had plenty of friends of the last kind who were benchmarks for my mom in my growing up years.