Food For Thought
Mira Ramachandran, Honorable Mention
I could easily say that I love food. Not just the unique tastes of different kinds of food, but the journey it took to get onto my plate. People are connected, inspired by food. They are introduced to a new kind of obsession, like me.
Most kids look forward to sleeping in on Sunday mornings, but I wake up bright and early to go to the farmer’s market. The sugar cane stall is first, and then the stall with beans and the best green onions, then the perfectly rounded cabbage that makes the best curry. It’s a food lover’s paradise! The fresh smells of all the fruits and vegetables linger and make my mouth water.
People are bustling around with shopping carts and bags, hauling around big loads of freshly baked bread, bold and beautiful cipollini onions and pungent red peppers.
We make our usual stop at the first cherry tomato stand out of which my mom makes rasam, an Indian soup. My heritage plays such an important role in my life, it made my interest for food so much greater. Whenever my mom is cooking dinner, whenever I can, I am right by her side, cutting beans or rolling dough to make roti, an Indian flatbread. I owe it to her, teaching me almost everything I know about food- from how to cut a clove of garlic, to what Brownian motion is, when I see mustard seeds dance around on a hot pan.
We move on to Juan’s stall, the walnuts. He always has a warm smile on his face as he welcomes all the customers and lets them try his walnuts. They’re the best you’ll ever eat. He grinds them right in front of you, in a clunky old hand grinder and bags them for you. These Walnuts could go into a moist banana bread or into someone’s bowl of cereal. They taste divine whichever dish they end up in.
After several rounds of collecting strawberries, onions, ginger, okra, beans, oranges, broccoli, and lots of seasonal fruit, my Mom and I head home to prepare lunch and dinner with all the fresh ingredients we just bought.
When I sit down for dinner with my family, I share my adventure. Growing up in an Indian household, food brings everyone together at the end of the day. Whenever I go on a trip to India, my grandparents, parents, sister, and I, all sit down at the dinner table, passing around the warm rotis and curries.
If it were not for food, I would’ve slept in on Sunday morning, but wouldn’t have smelled that freshly baked bread, or gotten my finger picked on hairy okra, or flicked a watermelon with my finger to see if it were ripe. I have so much more knowledge, done so many things, viewed my world so differently- all because of food.