Cultural differences

Food culture

10:42 AM

I’m a foodie, so don’t you be surprised to see yet another post about what goes in our tummies, this one stems from one comment I made this morning in the kitchen while baking French fries my daughter absolutely wanted:

Me: Honey once we have our own home we got to have a regular sized built in convection oven, you know like the one that was in the company flat we were living in in Zurich

DH: Yeah it was nice, but you didn’t cook as nice things back there as you do her

Me: What do you mean not nice: lasagna, various types of puff pastry, pizzas, pies…

DH: That’s why settling abroad permanently scares me, I need my Indian food, the good one.

Now first thing we aren’t even ready to move into our own home (Mumbai real estate prices be damned) and no we aren’t planning to relocate abroad at all.
We just both have been in situations of culture shock, and like in many cases, one of the biggest aspect of one culture’s is food. Food is what keeps us alive, each culture is proud of their cooking heritage, each culture has a different approach to food, and unless you have been taken out of your native crockpot, you never realise how much of an important part of who you are it is.
DH and I both know, and after years of bickering about meal time, and food stuff on our plate, we just decided that for both our sanity it is better to just leave the path that could lead to food war and keep it far behind.
He loves his dal/sabji/roti in his tiffin and for dinner, I find them ok, but not everyday. He has no problem with continental food…once in a while, not everyday.
I love cooking, but I actually find the task of preparing a casual everyday Indian meal annoying, because it takes as long as cooking a feast and after over an hour of sweating away in a hot and humid kitchen having just one veggie dish and a bowl of dal on my plate with 2-3 chapatti is just a bit of a let down. I much better put this time toward cooking a creamy Dal Makhani or a Murgh Badami and sit at my dinning table enjoying the fruit of my labour with my every senses.
DH doesn’t cook much, and isn’t good at it, and yes he doesn’t like spending hours cooking the things I don’t like cooking due to the lack of gratification with the final product.
Instead of arguing about the daily desi khana, and because we can afford it, we hired a cook, that way everybody wins. DH gets his favourite stuff on his plate and in his tiffin, no one cribs about spending hours cooking it and if it is not tasting as he wants it to taste he can give his critics to the cook, who even if she is hormonal will not throw a PMS fit because she is paid to cook what we want her to cook.
The burden of cooking watery dal and kadai fried sabji everyday being lifted from my shoulder, I can prepare my fare of salads, grilled meat and veggies and pastas for lunch and enjoy it. I can bake bread, and DH loves my cakes so not having to sweat away making lunch and dinner for hours means I have time to bake batches of his favourites.

DH once said: “Me expecting you to eat and love Indian food at every meal and be happy about it, is as unrealistic and stupid as me eating and loving continental food at every meal and be happy about it”

This is pure wisdom, and trust me on this, if you can find a way out of the big cultural food fight, take it!

4 comments

  1. Rohit and I do a lot of eating like this. I have my foods and he has his. I have warped him some though and he eats healthier now than he did when I came here. He still likes Indian food but he finds he can't stomach the grease the way he did before me. He eats many of my healthier foods and we share those often. But just as often he eats his moms Indian food and I have something more western. It bothers me a little because I wish we could eat more together but at the same time I know I don't want his food and as such can't force him to eat mine.

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  2. Yeah I grew up with the idea that man and wife do it all togheter, but then this is exactly what drew my parents appart, my dad had interests my mom didn't like and my dad the same, my mom felt she was compromising more than my dad on that matter, and that ended up being a deal breaker :)

    I just don't feel like loosing my sanity over the content of our plates and the time at which we have dinner :)

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  3. My hubby and I are both from the same background, but there are things I dislike eating so they just don't get made! If he wants those, he has to figure it out for himself. I like making new things and he likes trying them out. We both come from a philosophy of eating low salt and minimal deep fried stuff. When I get bored of the dal/subji/rice routine, I go off looking for new things to make, and he doesn't quibble about the occasional new dish, be it Indian, Asian, or Western.

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  4. Yeah my husband is a creature of habit, he could just go eat the same stuff everyday and that would not bother him :)
    I'm pretty much the same on the salt and deep fried issue, once in a while fine, not all the time, I don't even fry french fries, I bake them :)
    I remmber in the 3 years I lived alone in Geneva I only purchased one KG of salt when I moved in and gave the little that was left to my mom when I moved to India, that's how little salt went into my cooking back home.

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