Sunday, May 8, 2011

Historic Scientificity : The Anti-Farting Gambit

If you look at Indian food, you will notice a preponderance of cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, etc.

Why were these adopted?

The first principle, as always, is basic economics.

They grow abundantly on the Indian sub-continent and hence, they are extraordinarily cheap. So cheap that the Romans used black pepper as ballast on their ships sailing homewards. If all went well, you got a lot of black pepper. If your ship got caught at sea in a storm, you could toss the stuff overboard, and not suffer terribly because it was so cheap.

The second, which is a lot subtler, is that they are all carminative agents (anti-flatulents.) When eaten with lentils, they inhibit the bacteria that line the intestinal walls from generating gassy flatulence.

Obviously, the Indians learnt this by trial and error, and the "technology" has been passed down ever since. Most use this but few understand why.

The most effective are cloves, cinnamon, garlic and asafoetida. The second tier is made up of ginger, turmeric, and black pepper.

There is a related herb in Mexico called epazote which is traditionally added to black beans for the same reason.

Read carefully, and you'll notice that almost all of the "greatest hits" of Indian food are featured. What's missing, of course, is coriander, cumin and cardamom but not everything has to be functional. Some of it is just pure pleasure.

That's why the born-today vegans are basically fucked. They don't understand the functional component of how to make a successful lentil dish. You can't just boil that stuff and call it a day. You need to spice it right to make it both tasteful and functional.

Skill is required in almost every sphere of cooking even if you decide to follow some arbitrary rules, and this skill determines whether you toot through your rear horn all day or not.

Toodles and toots!

1 comment:

Gaurav said...

You left out fenugreek seeds!
As a Gujju that is unconscionable.