Friday, January 25, 2013

TASTY MANTRA - Definition and Meaning of TASTE

The Definition and Meaning of TASTE and TASTY

Long back I had a maid who used to cook quite well.

One day I invited some colleagues and their families (including my boss and his family) over for dinner and I decided to ask the maid to cook the food.

Apart from the usual fare of daal, rice, roti and a vegetable dish, I asked to her make chicken curry (which was her “signature dish”).

She cooked delicious chicken curry for us every Sunday and we really loved it.

At office, I often boasted about how lucky I was to get a good maid who cooked delicious food and I especially praised her chicken curry. So everyone was quite keen to taste this much hyped inimitable chicken curry.

“These guests are very special and they especially are looking forward to eating your chicken curry,” I told the maid, “so make it tasty. Please make the chicken curry really tasty.”

Now I did not know one thing – the definition of “taste” and “tasty” in my maid’s dictionary.

As far as my maid was concerned, “taste” meant rich (oily) and spicy and making food “tasty” meant adding plenty of oil and lots of chilly powder.

So when she cooked the chicken curry she made sure that she added generous amounts of oil and chilly powder. In fact, she had prepared the dish in copious amounts of oil and “richly” spiced (especially chilly powder).

The guests arrived.

Everyone was eagerly waiting in anticipation for the chicken curry.

The dish arrived and it looked very appealing and mouthwatering – yes, the chicken curry looked sumptuous, succulent pieces of chicken floating in rich opulent gravy.

The moment we started eating the chicken curry our tongues were instantly on fire. 

Yes, our tongues, our mouths, our whole insides were blazing and we all broke out into a sweat. 

Never before had we ever tasted something so hot and fiery. 

The rich greasy gravy further added to the pungency and the “kick.

Everyone kept drinking glass after glass of water to cool down their insides which had been set on fire by the red-hot chicken curry.

Had it not been for the “bland” vegetable dish and daal, which saved the day, the meal would have been a complete unmitigated disaster.

Next morning, surveying the leftovers, our maid was surprised to see that that there was plenty of chicken curry left over in the fridge, whereas the daal and vegetables were wiped out clean.

This was exactly the opposite of what she had expected.

I told her what had happened and asked her: “why did you put so much oil and chillies in the chicken curry?”

She said, “but you told me to make the chicken curry tasty. And how can a dish be tasty unless it is rich and spicy?”

“But what about the vegetables and daal – they were quite okay,” I said.

“You didn’t tell me to make the vegetables and daal tasty, so I made them normal,” she said.

‘Okay,’ I said, ‘from now on make everything “normal”. Please don’t make anything “tasty”.’


A few days ago I ordered Biryani at a local restaurant in Wakad near Pune.

Now, to the best of my knowledge and experience, Biryani is supposed to be mildly spiced.

But the Biryani served to me was so highly spiced, terribly red-hot and greasy that for me it was impossible for me to eat.

So I called the manager and told him not to make the Biryani so spicy and greasy and that he should tell the cook to put less oil and chilly powder in the Biryani.

Do you know what he said?

He said: “Sir, how can food be tasty unless you put oil and chillies? And most customers like “tasty” food.”

I instantly remembered the words of my erstwhile maid.

Well, they were the culinary “experts” and maybe I am out of sync.

Now I know the meaning and definition of the terms “taste” and “tasty”:

“Taste” means rich (oily) and spicy and making food “tasty” means adding plenty of oil and lots of chilly powder.

HAPPY EATING (and Happy Cooking)

May you always enjoy “Tasty” Food

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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Fast Music slow traffic said...

I know!!I am a sufferer too..where taste is confused with grease and spice! and I for one whol likes simple or to put in others words 'bland' food.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Aparna
Yes, this grease and spice is bad for health too. Unfortunately most new restaurants cater to these tastes. I look for places which serve "bland" food.
All the Best
Happy Eating

Anonymous said...

That was a "tasty" blog post. :)