Serendipity, a not-for-profit arts and cultural development foundation, presents ‘The Case of Missing Vegetables’ at the India Art Fair happening from the February 9 – February 12 at NSIC Grounds at Okhla, New Delhi. The concept arose from the desire to find out why several vegetables from Samaithu Paar (A Tamil vegetarian cookbook from the 1950s) are not present in our kitchens anymore. Why have some of these vegetables fallen off our plate?
The idea is to cook with underused vegetables using traditional recipes suggested in the book to try and get to the bottom of this mystery. “We started off with the vegetables mentioned in the book and hoped to discover more as we progressed through the 100 days. So every day we posted a picture of the vegetable on Instagram, a video of my mother cooking a recipe from the book and some information about the history and usage of the vegetables. This helped us learn more about the vegetables, in terms of their culinary potential, the journey they took to reach us in South India and their accessibility in today’s world,” says food designer Akash Muralidharan.
“After the 100 days, we were able to locate about 70 vegetables and recipes to incorporate. Along with these, we were also able to generate some insights to help us talk to the stakeholders of our food system to further understand the production and consumption of these vegetables. Right now, we are talking to home cooks, chefs, restaurants, farmers, and a few other stakeholders in the city to develop further insights and to verify if the assumptions we began with are true,” he adds.
The challenge remains to unearth the reason or reasons behind the absence of these and in the process, to devise methodologies to make sure we do not miss out on any more in the future. Collating the research findings and answers as a book or an online repository accessible by the public will help understand the fact that the food on our plate is much bigger than what it is and situated in a wider nexus.
When: February 9 – February 12
Where: NSIC Grounds at Okhla, New Delhi