Sunday, 2 September 2012

The meat and potato man !

At times I wonder how this phrase would have come about to be coined. Since the evolution of mankind the meat was hunted and cooked with potatoes ( read ‘roots’ ). This was among the first staples of the human man. The one-pot cooking processes were congenial to this kind of food and their preparation/s.
I can already visualize those mammoth steaming cauldrons of thick soupy meat set over logs of smoldering wood awaited by cold and hungry folklore.
Fancy colored vegetables are relatively modern in relation to the discussion at hand. They are all discoveries or rather inventions of mankind. What existed with the test of time were the fleshy tubers. The colored vegetables seem feeble and quite alienated in combination or comparison to the might of the meat ! Only a true vegetable of the soil could match up !.. The potato.
There is something similar to how the meat and potato ( read ‘roots’ ) behave while they are cooked. The slow cooked meats with the tubers lend, body, texture, volume and depth to the preparation. It is a great example of balance, homogeneity and basic yet intrinsic well-being.
The slow release of the sugars and starch and the tenderizing effect it lends each other is quite delicious. This is comfort food in true sense. This is no nonsense food in true sense.

It would be safe to say that the meat not only compliment the potato (it can be turnips !) in terms of combination but also supplements in terms of nourishment, satiety and satisfaction.
There is something extremely earthy about this comforting amalgamation of food. It is like a warmly-welcoming and home-coming proposition when you actually look forward to this meal. This is also the meal for the true toiler.
No feast is complete without this duo at the centre-spread inviting hungry eyes and turning salivating heads waiting for you to just roll up your sleeves and dig in !  
Steak and potato, hearty meat stew with chunky onions, turnips and potato, chops and onions, chicken and fries, roast and mash, grills and wedges, shalgum gosht, all have a story to tell.
Well I know lot of men who give two hoots about any clan of vegetables that come their way. They believe that a meal can only be complete with these delicious potatoes and chunky caramelized meats.
I don’t find anything wrong in that belief after all we are creatures of the soil. In fact it also goes that these very men live to eat than eat to live and interestingly are the most boisterous and earthy individuals you can come across.

Hail the meat and potato man !
By : Devraj Halder