Food has been a form of escapism and expression for many – the consumer and the chef. With every food and dish comes different flavours that can be familiar or a stranger to our taste buds.
To briefly share how I interpret the various and popular flavours that exist, below is a short poem which I brainstormed with my friend a few weeks ago about how food makes us feel:
sweet makes me happy,
it never fails to leave a smile on my face.
sour makes me annoyed,
why would someone make something taste so extreme?
spicy makes me scared,
of how this could potentially impact my body after consuming it.
bitter makes me angry,
who decided that this was edible in the first place?
salty makes me content,
anything salty is a form of comfort for me.
too much of a flavour makes me worry,
have i been eating too much?
Food has been a gateway to many opportunities and experiences. As a Muslim, living with the restrictions of certain foods and drinks such as pork and alcohol may be seen as a form of “losing out”. On the contrary, having such restrictions in daily life has allowed me to become more appreciative of what He has already provided me in the three meals I eat every day. Having to fast for a whole month shows me that food is considered a privilege for us Muslims who have access to supermarkets and restaurants. Especially in Singapore, with the wide variety of cuisines that we have been exposed to in our multicultural society.
Food has helped me build connections with people who I would not have expected to grow close to. Having non-Muslim friends who actively share about the latest halal restaurants or trends with their Muslim friends and visiting them together makes eating out more special as well. A person’s food preferences can also speak a thousand words about their personality, whether it's related to what their favourite food or flavour is or if they are a picky eater. It brings people together and can create special bonds between people.
Something I feel that food shows the most is love. A mother shows her love to her kids by cooking their favourite meal to make them happy. A husband would go out of his way to buy food and desserts as a way to support his wife during the tough times. Friends would treat each other to assure them that it’s okay that they are unable to pay now due to whatever circumstances they are facing at the moment. Even baking or cooking together with someone is a way to create memories and make something that they can enjoy together or as a gift to someone they both treasure.
Food is there for you whenever. A rainy night at home alone comes with a bowl of your favourite instant noodles. A necessary study grind for some people requires a good cup of coffee at a café for maximum productivity. A celebration is always completed with a whole cake.
While some people may struggle with enjoying the food they eat, whether it is related to their own personal struggles or past experiences, I hope that everyone learns to enjoy food for bringing nourishment to the body and happiness to your soul as well. Treat yourself to your favourite meal or dessert once in a while! You deserve it.