Recently, after the Food Safety and Standards Commission of India (FSSAI) ordered yogurt packets in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to print ‘Dahi’ in Hindi, ‘Raita’ was exposed. Following an outcry in the two states led by all political parties over the mandatory use of the word Hindi in the southern states, FSSAI had to withdraw the order on Thursday. But by then, ‘raita’, as the saying goes, had spread everywhere.
Episodes have focused on the use of language in food and vice versa. With complications mounting they inadvertently find their way into each other.
For example, references to indigenous foods on restaurant menus in pure European terminology often refer to our goat. Remember ‘fried dough pockets filled with spiced potatoes and peas’? In short, she is the ‘samosa’ on the menu of an aspiring Michelin star restaurant. The vegetarian variety (from Middle Persian ‘sambosag’ and Arabic ‘sambusak’), with its origins in West Asia, is almost a claimant to the national snack of India, often ‘snaking’ around English-language menus on the country’s walls. Road side eatery.
Idioms like ‘Getting the goat’, ‘Karing Ehsaan’, ‘Cookie crumbles’ may be parallel in meaning to Hindi ‘Roti Sekna’, ‘Raita Fallana’, ‘Dal Galana’, but in terms of meaning No. There is so much food in languages – and sadly, often in a negative sense. e.g., ‘in the soup’, ‘occupe-to de tes ognons’ (French, literally ‘take care of your onions’, meaning ‘mind your business’), ‘in vino veritas’ (Latin, meaning Hai a drunken man speaks the truth” or ‘Sar kadahi mein dena’ (Hindi for inviting trouble).
In contrast, the use of language in food is mostly meaningless because food communicates in its own way, rather more effectively. For example, tracing the etymology of ‘nimona’, ‘anarsa’, or the more familiar ‘chawal’, an Urdu word possibly derived from Punjabi ‘chaul’ or Sindhi ‘chounru’ would be such a mammoth task. Even the famous Persian ‘chelo’ (rice) is derived from an Indian language. Chello Rice and Chello Kebab are Persian dishes which are popular all over the world. The Sanskrit words for rice are ‘dhana’ and ‘vrihi’.
Breaking the unnecessary boundaries of language, I find ‘Paratha’ the coolest. Originally from Sanskrit, the word is mentioned in the 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia Manasollasa, which Someshwar III, a Western Chalukya king who ruled from present-day Karnataka. But Paratha (Hindi, Oriya and Urdu), Porota (Bengali), parotta (Tamil, Malayalam and Sinhalese), parantha (Punjabi and Sindhi) and patal (Myanmar) have mapped half the world in their various avatars, making their way into the cuisines of a dozen different countries where wheat is a staple diet.
In conclusion, unless the curd is sour, there is no need, nor does it matter, for ‘raita’.