I grew up rural India in a vegetarian family. We grew vegetables, in our backyard. So when the season onset happened we had a whole list of dishes of the season vegetables, and towards the wane we could just not bear the sight of those very same veggies any more.
But our family, our daily menu was great, with choice of take it or leave it. And Leave it meant stay hungry till the next meal.
Now we have no respect for either the seasons or the veggies, everything is available all round the year; we do terrible things to the vegetables, like shipping them! They probably get a jet lag just like people do!
With nature, and health being the new buzz word, we are going seasonal, but why go seasonal at all?
Seasonal food means, the food is fresher, tastier, and more nutritious; it also means the seeds germinate in the soil at the right time, meaning plants are naturally stronger and more resistant to disease. This definitely means better quality.
Out of season vegetables are either force grown or jet-lagged.
It’s fun and frustrating like I shared in my opening. I particularly like anticipating the seasonal local vegetables; they are the only ones that have remained seasonal.
Have you noticed that seasons demand their own foods; you have a craving for certain dishes?
Like the winter food is a bit heavier. A bit more rich in spice. The caloric value is higher.
The monsoon calls for tangier and thinner foods, of course, the luxury of deep-fried. When I was younger we stored melons and gourds picked in summer to tide us over the rains. There was raw mango stored in brine and brought out on special days this was seasoned with tamarind, raw onion and a final dressing of spurting mustard and asafoetida that too me is heavenly.
Then there is the steamed rice and coconut sweet/savoury something like Tamale, another delicacy of the monsoons.
Summer comes with light near bland food that cools the body, the food is richer in carbohydrates, and proteins while a little less on fat.
The glassful of moong milk, the chaas, and rooh-afza’s the salads, the fruit puddings all the flavours of the season.
Forget the health have you ever thought of the wealth implications of vegetables?
The vegetable prices that declined during winter, no more occurs. Milk price is the same; the egg prices remain high through summer. This is because the seasonal variation no longer exists. People have lost the cooking skills of traditional vegetables, my daughters do not know how to eat pumpkin, unless it is a recipe cooked by whatever Ratnani with nonsense like paneer and broccoli (which to me looks like petrified papilloma.) migrating workforce, yes buddy, you could be a soft ware personal, or an MBA but out of your home base you are a migrant worker, has created a different demand supply chain in the vegetable market, that is addressed by booming supermarket chains.
The price rise would include the transport, refrigeration other expenses.
Our increasing investments in real estate, in encroaching into the agricultural investment and development, the loss of kitchen gardens and small growers would mean loss of local season vegetables.
Hey think about this an onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh—Will Rogers.