I love the foodie shows on T&L and NDTV Good Times, though most if not all of the dishes shown are items I’ll never touch.
So we(sis and I) watch a Chinese lady with a Brit accent go through China, chopping tofu, cooking lotus roots… and then watch another lady whip up desserts all rich in chocolate, Kunal Vijaykar chat with a chef in Pondicherry as he buys spices, vegetables and meat and prepares a godawesome-looking meal, another guy sample street-food in different parts of the world…
And then we watch Vir Sanghvi. He doesn’t think too much of the Udupi restaurants in Mumbai. He doesn’t like the exotic seafood he gets in Kerala. He somehow manages to eat the fare on a trawler in Mangalore without making too wry a face. He doesn’t have too high an esteem of the Rajputs – ‘they were the stupidest in my school’.
Why, he doesn’t even spare the Udupi Temple. There they were, the temple staff piling his leaf with more and more, while he couldn’t manage past a few mouthfuls and rather disgracefully said he’s had enough.
In contrast, Padma Lakshmi did the Udupi temple too, and was excited as hell about the food, she went into the kitchen, showed us the spices they use, the wood fires… and even tried her Iyer Tamil on the folks in the kitchen.
Maybe I’d've not minded so much if he didn’t sound all condescending. His condiness knows no bounds. The Rajputs got stripped of their titles. They were stupid in school – bad at both sports and studies. So what sort of careers do they pursue? Why, they turn their palaces to Heritage Hotels, of course …And this is how you are introduced to Rajasthan and its heritage hotels.
All the other food show hosts seem to be adventurous in terms of sampling cuisines, open to new experiences, and having as open a mind as possible. And if they have reservations, they are careful to stick to their comfort zone.
And not just food show hosts are this accomodating.. I remember an MTV VJ getting a large tattoo done on her lower back just for the sake of the show. It was painful, but she smiled for the camera, and managed to even joke about it.
It’s painful to watch an old (he’s crossed the half century mark) man trudge over the country, sampling foods he doesn’t like, meeting people he doesn’t try to get to know, and passing through lands that’ll always seem inferior to him. A joke comes to mind:
When the lights in the cinema dimmed and the opening credits of the film appeared on screen, one of the viewers leaned closer to his neighbour and asked:
“Excuse me, but can you tell me what’s written on the screen?”
“The opening titles…”
“I see…can you tell me the name of the producer? My eyesight isn’t too good…”
“But the translator is reading them over the mike!”
“The thing is, my hearing isn’t what it should be, either. By the way is the film in colour?”
“Do you suffer from Dalton’s disease?”
“As a matter of fact — yes. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t see why you go to the movies, under the circumstances. What pleasure can you get?”
“Pleasure’s got nothing to do with it. I have to write a review!”