Different generations, social groups, ethnic identities, diverse cultures and various regions are marked with food fads, portraying trends or craze in many forms of collective behaviour that develops over time, often changing as time passes. Social anthropologists should be able to throw light on factors that have a direct bearing on the issue of food fads. Fantasising about foods, driven by preferences, accessing without much effort, ambience at the place of consumption, affordability, state of health impacting enjoyment and appetite, familiarity with the fare, tranquil mind, company that one keeps, pre-disposed views on the source of food prepared and so on, not to forget restrictions imposed by the family doctor or the specialist all can lead to confusion, if not indecision about the choice of one’s choice of food day after day, until one settles down to become bellyful. American legendary humorist’s words “To eat is human, to digest is divine” cannot be taken lightly.
On hearing the prescription of research personnel recommending consumption of nutritious foods by balancing the ingredients, some have reacted sharply saying that people at large don’t eat nutrition but they prefer to satisfy their taste buds. All said and done, whoever listens to his tongue but ignores his stomach has to pay with health issues for the fault.
The idiom ‘Man doesn’t live by bread alone’ is an adage that amply summarises the wisdom that human beings need more than the simple necessities to keep them biologically vibrant, particularly on the count of the menu that one chooses. In this context, while nutrition is a basic requirement, aesthetic and spiritual aspects also exert their influence. While the government introduced the all-too-familiar midday meal for school children, with the best of intention, the scheme got embroiled in all sorts of pitfalls, notably the shortfall of cleanliness. At present, Akshaya Patra institution has mostly resolved the issue, until somebody at the top in administration hit upon the idea of including onion and eggs in the school meal.
The measure of enhancing the appeal-to-the-school-children by adding onion and eggs didn’t go well with the institution providing midday meal to lakhs of school children, for reasons not necessary to be elaborated. Lastly, children being supplied food under the midday meal programme have never been party to the decisions of what to be served. They do have their fads which cannot be ignored. Their choice seems to be junk foods!