What is Good Food?
What do we mean by ‘good food’? We know, different cultures have different kinds of food, from Indian curry and rice to American hamburgers and fries. When we talk about good food, do we mean tasty food or do we mean healthy food? Or, can we have both?
Well, the good news is that I firmly believe we can have both. I have been involved with the food business for the last 20 years. A question to the forefront of my mind has always been what attracts diners to choose their restaurant? Is it because of the food? The atmosphere and surroundings? The friendliness of the staff? The convenience of location? Or is it to avoid the washing up? What is the magic ingredient? Of course it may be, because you do not want to take the risk of inviting them into your home in case you can’t get rid of them!
The magic ingredient is good food, served by friendly staff in a pleasant environment. Good food relies on the chef and the quality of the ingredients. A chef with knowledge of the function of each ingredient knows how to use them in order to bring out the specific flavours, which enhance the meal. It is also important the chef understands what constitutes a healthy diet. For example my business is broadly based on Indian cuisine and I know the role of garlic for adding flavour, but also it has a beneficial effect on the health of the heart. There are many ingredients like this i.e. green chillies can help prevent colds, and turmeric has been shown to have a positive effect in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities that reduce joint inflammation and deterioration. Chefs also need to know what is bad for the diner’s health. For example moderation in using food colours, not adding too much butter and sugar. Ingredients should be fresh. Sauces and paste should be made up with fresh ingredients and not purchased off the shelf.
Historically the Indian subcontinent had limited health provision in terms of doctors and hospitals, so the majority of the population relied on traditional remedies using herbs. In many cases these worked and helped keep the population healthy. It’s important that this knowledge is not forgotten and in many cases it can be incorporated into recipes. This can create meals which are both tasty and healthy.
Food is now international. Wherever you live today you can eat, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Italian whatever your preference is. It is served in restaurants, fast food outlets, street stalls, and takeaways and on the shelves at supermarkets. So much choice for the modern diner, as with anything else in life the key to happiness is moderation. So in moderation there’s nothing wrong with cream, red meat, chicken or rich desserts. Eating in moderation is a key factor here. There is no such thing as bad food, but you need balance and moderation. So yes we can have both tasty and healthy food.
Cuisine of India Restaurant - Kelmarsh Avenue, Wigston, Leicester, LE18 3QW