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The Art of Eating
|by Vikram Karve|
I look in front of me. I like what I see. I keep seeing, my eyes locked on to the target, as if by some mysterious, yet astonishing, force of attraction. Something is happening with me. Senses heighten; stimulated, aroused in a way I have never felt before. Waves of desire rise within me. I feel tremors of anticipation. My mouth salivates and I lick my lips lasciviously in eager expectation. I feast my eyes hungrily. My heart beats. I feel possessed. Intense passion, Lusty craving overwhelms me. I can't control myself any longer. Wild with desire, I move towards my target, ready for the kill.
No. No. Dear Reader. Just wait a moment. The object of my desire - It's not what you are thinking. What I am looking at, the object of my attention, the focus of my temptation, is a bowl Nihari ' two succulent pieces of mutton floating in a rich nourishing gravy looking so luxuriant and tempting, that I just can't wait to devour. But I control myself. Good food must be savored delicately; slowly, attentively and respectfully; in a befitting manner, with finesse and technique, with relish and appreciation and you will experience true gustatory delight. That's the Art of Eating. It's sacrilege to eat in a ravenous and rapacious manner.
The bowl of Nihari, so luxuriously appetizing; a Khameeri Roti, so soft and fluffy. It looks heavenly. I move closer. The tempting aroma - so enticing, so blissful - permeates within me, energizes my brain cells, activates my taste buds. My mouth waters. I am ready to eat.
Eating is not a gustatory experience alone, it's visual and olfactory as well. Food must look good, smell good, taste good and, most importantly, make you feel good. The Art of Eating. It's Holistic. Multidimensional. Encompassing all domains of your inner being.
If you want to do full justice to good food you must build up an appetite for it ' merely being hungry is not enough. And the first step towards building up an appetite for good food is to think about it ' simulated imaginative gustatory visualization to stimulate and prepare yourself for the sumptuous indulgence. An important thing we were taught at boarding school was to read the menu and prepare for the meal by beginning to imagine eating each and every dish, from soup to pudding, in our mind's eye. Remember: First plan your 'eat' and then eat your 'plan'.
It's true. I eat my food twice. First in my mind's eye ' imagining, visualizing, 'vicariously tasting', fantasizing, strategizing on how I am going to savor and relish the dish to my utmost pleasure and satisfaction till my mouth waters and I desperately yearn to eat it. And then I do the honors ' actually go and eat it and enjoy the delightful experience.
Using my right thumb and forefinger, I lovingly pick small piece of meat from the gravy and delicately place it on my tongue. I close my eyes. Look inside. To focus my conscious energy. To accentuate my awareness. To concentrate. That's the cardinal principle of the Art of Eating. You must always close your eyes during the process of eating. When you eat, you must eat; nothing else, no seeing, no hearing, no talking. No multi-tasking. Focus, eat mindfully, meditatively, honor your taste buds and you will attain a state of delightful bliss and happiness.
The meat is so tender that even a toothless person can eat it. It's truly 'Melt in the mouth' cuisine ' like the famous Galouti Kebabs of Lucknow. Soft, succulent, juicy.
You don't chew. You just gently squeeze the meat, softly rolling your tongue against the palate and the meat dissolves releasing its intoxicating flavors. It's sheer bliss. Enlightenment. Gustatory Orgasm. Sensory Resonance. I do not have words to describe the exhilarating sensation.
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