This is my first experience with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. When my friend Molly (of Molly’s Canopy) mentioned the challenge, I was intrigued and here I am, ready to jump in!
As Pepper Route is food-focused, the A to Z blog posts will all be about food… recipes, ingredients, a bit of trivia, all about food.
The role of food in our lives has evolved over time, the changes accelerating in recent times.
From being a primary necessity of life, food and its planning, preparing and presenting have evolved into forms of art, craft and science.
Food processing has moved from the kitchen to the lab, advancements in food chemistry helping us understand the interactions of carbs, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc.
Culinary programming is raised to the status of spectator sports on television channels.
New cooking techniques like sous vide and hot smoking have become popular.
New terms like ‘food porn’ have entered the common language.
Social media – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Reels – is abounding with food themes and memes.
Awareness of the relationship between food and health has grown, with the popularity of processed foods waning in inverse proportion to the attraction of organic and natural ingredients. Not only the caloric value but the source of ingredients is gaining focus.
New concepts like farm to table, nose to tail eating, and intermittent fasting are gaining traction.
New diet practices like veganism and keto have hit the mainstream in a big way.
And the latest noticeable trend is the popularity of meal kits that ship ingredients for a recipe, all measured out in correct proportions, along with instructions, to homes. Accentuated by the corona pandemic, meal kits have helped expand the repertoire of even previously reluctant home cooks. Most likely, more meals will continue to be cooked at home even after the pandemic is managed and restrictions are eased.
Despite all these ongoing changes, the classic cuisines and recipes have held their own through ages. A lasagna, a shepherd’s pie, a tandoori chicken will always have its place on people’s tables. Currently we are in a very lucky space where we have the classics to hold on to, at the same time enjoying the offerings of the new trends.
While selecting recipes to feature on Pepper Route during the A to Z Challenge, one factor that jumped to my notice: the universal nature of dishes. For example, let’s take the meat stew. Every regional cuisine has a version of this dish. They all involve meat cooked in a liquid for a long time, with the added options of beans, vegetables and spices. However… however, each of them is unique. What makes them unique are ingredients that were only available locally. In parts of Spain, it is asturia fabada, in Puerto Rico, it is gandinga, in Peru it is olluquito con charqui (or any one of a dozen regional variations).
It is this duality – the universal yet unique nature of food – that I have chosen as my theme. 26 dishes from 26 different regions will be featured on Pepper Route as part of the A to Z Challenge, exemplifying the theme Universal Yet Unique!
Hope you will keep me company through this exciting blogging adventure!