What is common to great philosophers and great cooks? The knowledge of balance.

A little sweet and a little salt


Now, philosophy students might contest that their love of wisdom cannot be equated to ones love for cooking or the craftsmanship in cooking. But, on a closer understanding about the two crafts that probably brew out of the simplest understanding, one might agree that the culinarian and the wise men do have something extremely common. I’ll let you think here and continue with some great cooks(not the famous ones) I have known since growing up.

Whenever my mother or my grandmother made chutney(Sweet Indian sauce enjoyed both hot and cold) they used to sprinkle a little salt in the sweet sauce in the end and stirred well into it. The practice was reversed for the spicy fish curry or any other salty Indian curry, a pinch of sugar. As a kid, it used to surprise me. However, I believe it was their secret as the food turned out to be just perfect. The same ritual was practised by my Boudi(Bengali word for Cousin brother’s wife), a great cook who still prepares Hyderabadi Biryani for her food stall during Durga Pujas(Indian festival where we worship Goddess Durga) and it is out of the world! She told me, “always do this. It balances the flavour out beautifully.” Another famous chef also said the same thing. This thought is so profound and it also sets these people apart from the ones who are stuck on fixed biases of sweet meaning only sweet and salty meaning only salt. Just like what sets philosophers apart from the rhetoric, from what we are taught.

I like to call to it the art of balancing. I do it for every meal that I prepare. But, now it is more or less this belief in balance in “okaying” things out in the end that coaxes me to do it more than anything. The truth about life and living it starts with knowing that it all will be O.K. in the end. And it is, however, a truth believed by many great minds and many wise ones. Hence hope you seek and find a balance.


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