It goes without a saying that we live for food and all we do as the human race is strive for the survival of good nutritional food. Nothing like a quick bite from the fast-food around the corner when you’re late and sometimes too lazy. In fact, the thought of it sounds quite tempting. But, rest assured that entire MSG will not do you or your bones any good, without nutrition in our diet the food we consume would only mean adding another baggage to the race. The saying goes “Health is Wealth” is self-explanatory and our health comes from what we eat. A stable diet is what we all aim to provide for the body in order to grow and glow and this I must say only comes from the best slow food you can ever consume found abundantly in mother nature. In a world full of “wannabes” only be the best that you can be and that can only come from the nutritional cuisines that will surprise you from all the different dishes made out of the indigenous rich heritage provided to us by nature herself. Tradition is what makes us unique and unique in this world is what sets us apart and that is the ingredient of individuality.
Traditional cuisines are only believed to be made organically and fresh out of the garden with only pure compost. Our ancestors have evolved from cannibalism to herbivorous thousands of years ago.. The knowledge of a variety of fruits which are good for certain parts of our body, the art of taste that leads to a satisfaction of body and soul as well as genetically important for our ever-developing cells. All these are knowledge imparted to us traditionally through practice. When it comes to nutritional values, it is a process through which one can improvise every single day, to discover and rediscover the importance of a certain plant or leaf. To this very moment, people still continue to experiment with delicacies and squeeze their nutritional value through their mixture. Most of it has proved to be successful. For instance, the discovery of sugar from sugarcane and the value of sugar as a source of energy for our bodies. Therefore traditional cuisine will always prove to be very nutritious because it is mostly organic, so no extra chemicals like fertilizers are found on the food, just plain wholesome nutritional food.
On account of World Food day, North East network Nagaland also organized a cooking competition under the theme “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together”. We focused on youths, in an effort to bridge the growing gap between young people and local food systems. It was an attempt to help the youths understand the significance of local food, rediscover, and appreciate traditional recipes, explore and exchange innovative recipes using local ingredients.
The cooking competition comprised of two categories, the indigenous cooking category, and the creative category. Zaweu Tsuhah & Wewau Mero from Chizami Town won the first place in the creative category, whereas Eyienyiteu Tsuhah & Wemelhiu Thopi of Chizami village won first in the indigenous category.
2 films were also screened at the event; the programme was chaired by Ms. Vilazonuo, NEN; Rev. Mese Rhakho pronounced the invocation, and a special song was presented by Ms. Depeu and Ms. Yeteu Vero ; and Mr. Keviselhou, NEN delivered the vote of thanks.
Ms. Wekowe-u Tsuhah, State Director North East Network Nagaland, in her introduction did not fail to mention the importance of creating awareness on hunger issues and a healthy lifestyle. Tsuhah also challenged the young participants to reflect on the food choices that they make every day, and if the choices we make is supporting the food systems and whether it sustains us and our planet Earth.
Guest speaker, Ms. Kekhweu T. Mero, Retd. Teacher, Custodian Knowledge Holder, reminded the youths that God has blessed us with diverse herbs and seed-bearing trees for food, but He also gave us the responsibility to take care and sustain it. She shared her concerns that many people have increasingly abandoned their own agricultural lands and are not food secure any longer. ‘a dangerous trend and therefore the youth must take the responsibility to reverse this trend by getting involved in growing food and also encourage elders and parents to continue’. She also stressed the importance of being self-reliant and not to depend fully on the market for food. She shared with the participants the cultural, nutritional, and medicinal values of some wild herbs, and cultivated crops such as millets, perilla, black sesame, and corn.
Mr. Colo Mero, Director, Life Ministries, and Advisory Member, NEN Nagaland, highlighted the potential of developing local food business if one has passion and develop necessary business skills. He encouraged the youths to rise up and take the opportunity to develop food businesses as there are numerous livelihood opportunities – for growers, distributors, restaurants, etc. He asserted, ‘Food is an art and therefore along with taste, presentation skills, quality control, hygiene are some of the most important points to be noted in food business’.
This world food day taught us a lot about the culture, food, and how we owe it all to the environment. Without failing to mention that yes hunger has always been one of the reasons why people die, in fact the theme last year did focus on hunger with ways and means trying to curb this unfortunate untimely death. Let us try to make a difference when it comes to food for our co-existence entirely depends not just on individuals but mother nature as a whole.