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Demanding tongues and fulfilled bellies
September 30, 2014, 11:52 am

Food; there is so much that we put into food in terms of effort, time and creativity that we end up producing over one and half times more food than is needed to feed the entire world population, or in other words, enough food to  feed over 10 billion bellies. It is not just that we produce an overabundance of food; we also devour huge portions of it. For instance, an average person will consume over 100 tons of food and nearly 50,000 liters of water in his lifetime.

Sometimes it just seems like everything that we do is for food; the sheer love of food, with nothing possible without food. Our tongues have been so bored and so demanding for ever-so-new tastes to savor, that since history we have been evolving the art of cooking and eating. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, "But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother's milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship,” we took this as our talisman and dived in full-throttle into worshipping food.

We are devoted to growing, transporting, cooking, eating, tasting, and celebrating food. We grow varieties of food in huge amounts; store them in jars in vinegar, sugar, salt. We grow them in different sizes, shapes, colors, tastes, textures, breeds and classes. In the Americas, well before the arrival of Columbus, prehistoric farmers had over the years developed hundreds of flashy varieties of corn and beans, both in a range of gorgeous and gaudy colors; dozens of varieties of peppers; and a mind-boggling array of tomatoes. Now breeders can create dozens of flavorful new food hybrids in just a year. A company in China is said to produce pears that look exactly like a plump little Buddha, complete with folded arms, plump tummies, and meditative smiles - the secret is a plastic mold.

We sell food from one country to the other; if one wants to know where their food is coming from, that can mean a farm down the road, across the country, or—if it is exotic foods—half a world away. We have found hundreds of ways to cook up a particular ingredient and in the process numerous cuisines, food shows, cooking techniques and cookware have evolved.

So much has happened to food throughout history that it is of immense interest to see rare artifacts, and our curiosity easily boils up to peek into the dining rooms of famous figures and get tempted to examine the intersection of food, nature, culture, health, and history.

Although ancient Romans used metal spikes to winkle out snails, the fork did not appear with regularity until the 17th century. In the gilded world of late 19th-century America, flatware sets could stretch to 30 types of forks, with various ones for shrimp, sardines, lobster, scallops, and oysters. This goes to show that addiction to innovation has gripped us and that dull food is old news.

Food is so much more now than a mere meal, it has become an opportunity to taste seasonal treats in the working kitchens, or cook a virtual meal online. Food is a form of expression of one's taste preferences, visual appeal, sensitivity to smells, textures, colors, heat and of course indulgence. Interest in appearance inevitably led to judgment calls: some fruits and vegetables are deemed better-looking than others.

A potato can be boiled, mashed, thrown into a plate and eaten; but no, thanks to our greedy tongues wanting more and more of taste, there are more than hundreds of ways in which potato, one of the blandest of foods can be presented and eaten. The mere thought of a favorite dish makes our tongues start to release secretive juices and the whole body goes into a chain reaction until the adamant hunger demons are fed.

When food cannot be bland, then how can recipes be? As opposed to the text-heavy format for recipes we are all used to, the sensory nerves tend to fall prey very easily for visual appeals and effects. It is all about expression now. There are countless individuals in this world who love to cook. There are also copious amounts of doodlers out there. Once in a while, a magical intersection of two such groups occurs, and luckily for them, and more so, for us, a venue exists to celebrate the fusion of the two at expressing everything food.

'They Draw & Cook' is essentially a recipe site that features cuisines from around the world, but its beautiful differentiation is that all the recipes are illustrated. The illustrated approach challenges foodies to not simply detail the process of cooking a dish, but also tell a story about that dish: its origins, its ingredients, and perhaps even the feelings and memories that come about when smelling them. Explore such irresistible recipes by doodler artists made even more tempting that you could almost soak yourself in the mood of it, and then straight away head to your kitchen to pay attention to your palate.

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