We in the Forager team seem to have arrived at a discovery that the tablet ___ is a very effective cure for a hangover. It isn’t by any stretch an antibiotic, but in the manner that a lot of us pop it in, like you would a candy after a heavy lunch, to soothe the palate over, we are weakening the immune system one pill and one party at a time. Globally, there are studies being conducted and much debate over the alarming rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria because of, among other reasons, the over prescription of antibiotics for every other fever and cold. Ife Piankhi writes of health crisis in Uganda caused by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. It is a crisis the NGOs are ignoring, in favour of fancier diseases like AIDS and Zika, she says.
Just as ulcers and weak stomachs have become the embodiments of uninformed choices, so has the ruthless practice of stripping away the earth to plunder its ores become the ‘inevitable’ cost of ‘development’ and other tall words. While the story is disturbingly common in India and elsewhere, nowhere does it jar quite as much as in the holiday paradise of Goa, where the sunny beaches and bright blue skies cleverly mask the horrors of mining. Entire hills have been flattened and rivers buried under greed. Hartman de Souza recent book Eat Dust: Mining and Greed in Goa chronicles in painful detail what mining has done to the small little state on India’s Western Coast. He writes about bossa nova music and shacks that sell Feni, the local drink and recounts a pork recipe he was given and hums a couple of songs, all very evocatively. But what he actually does in his essay is point at what the sudden flush of money that mining brought into the state did to its lovely people and lovelier food. It is painful, yet necessary to read, just like his book.
This is The Forager’s seventh issue, and I love how I continue to be surprised at just what and all – to use a slang expression – food can be used to say. Issac Wurmann talks of eating the “best croissant” of his life in Dubai to talk about globalization. The city is one of the purest examples of a globalized world, and capitalism too, that I can think of – consciously built to be a cosmopolitan, global city, built on a desert, built so inorganically – all within living memory.
The memoir tone continues in two other essays we have this time, those of Sengamalam and Sharmila Vaidyanathan. Sengamalam brings up the very complicated issue of caste in the conservative landscape she grew up in, and how the caste she was born into coloured everything she touched and everything her mother judged her on. Sharmila begins with her grandmother’s improvised recipe for a snack and writes on how reading a family recipe is so much more than just listing the ingredients or instructions.
Harry G West’s brilliant essay reminds of how the inherited and acquired knowledge that peasants possess are just as valuable and important, if not more crucial, as education acquired in universities. It accompanies the work of Asunción Molinos Gordo who wrote up the CVs of two peasants using big fancy words, borrowing the language and formalisms of academia, describing “real labour through the use of hyperbole.”
That’s another eclectic mix of essays now. And we are done and dusted with another issue. We hope there is enough in here to give you much food for thought this summer.
As always, bon appetit!
Deepa Bhasthi is a writer based in Bengaluru, India. Her works are available at http://dbhasthi.blogspot.in. She is one of the founding editors of The Forager.