February 15, 2017 KalyanChallapalli Challapalli

#TraderCommunityFood #BanyaFood #wolfSIGHTS #wolfzhowl #Stratalogues

Snack food as we know it has been majorly invented by the trader community, in IndiA!

Traders in the ancient times used to: (1) Sit at their galla (cash register) for hours (without being able to move out of their shops) & hence used to either pack lasting food that they can eat at their galla or quickly pop-into the centre of the bazaar for a exciting snack, (2) In the age of slow-transportation, they used to take days to travel somewhere else and barter for goods to bring back to sell (Believe me the hospitality industry was not so organised & temples used to act as over night stay and free food places in those days – the size of the prasadam (god blessed food) was huge and the security that the temple offered was huge – thats why a lot of temples were built on the outskirts – more on temple economy and temples as traveller hostels later & the direct co-relation of business community contributing to religious entities being so high shall be discussed in another thought-piece).

So imagine their need to pack non-perishable food, I think that was the need that led to the invention of fArsaan/faafda/thepla/Bajji pappu/pittu/chegodilu/chekka-appadalu etc;. Not so surprisingly trading community of India (Banyas/kovatis/Gujjus/Punjabis/Rajasthanis/Shettys/SettiBaljis) are the propogators of snackable, non-perishable fast food in India. They possibly were the true inventors of mobile snack food.

The DNA of this mobile-fast food was something which ensured you had something to eat no matter what deprived circumstance you were in and at the same time carried with you the comfort of the taste-of-your-home with you, wherever and however far you went.

As is to be expected, travelling traders were the biggest socio-cultural butterflies. Pollinating culture via food first to different places and hence introducing their home-culture to an alien place.

“Relative-Nativity” hence was achieved in different places, spawning fast food culture for both the bored locals and most importantly for the travelling traders. (again more later on a different thought-piece about traders impact on health & wellness).

Food is only (just only) next to sex in involving all the 5 senses and food is the second most intimate form of experiencing something and the first most intimate form of experiencing culture (thus the current growth of food-based travel industry).

Sense of touch, sense of sight, sense of sound, sense of touch, sense of smell are all involved when you simply “food” (a verb mind you). Only vatsayana prescribed sex can be considered more involving of the 5 senses than food.

So food has the power to either transport you back home or immerse you in the local culture far better than anything else.

Food is the best way to get intimate with a culture your own or an alien one! Hence snack food (non-perishable variety) was at once both functional and intensely emotional!

Fast Food – is just like an impetuous lover, it has the power to transport you into another flirtatious world – if you are a bored local experiencing the “something else”, or Fast Food – is the mother/wife/family which can evoke a great sense of comfort and nativity in the travelling trader”.

A cheese burger, a taco, a mirchi bhajji or any other snack has “entertainment – liberation from the tyranny of boredom + functionality of time and convince” as the core DNA.

Whichever you look at it, fastfood/snacks are cultural-ports which transport you and hence, humanity shall never see the end of fast food.

Fast Food / Snack Food brands need to acknowledge this and embed it into their core DNA. If a fast food brand does not transport you – then it is bound to be a failure!.

Watch-Out for a fantastic food blog soon, from a lovable junior of mine – Mitali Bakhai… she is bound to travel you via your tongue across culture, fashion, history, mythology & much more!


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