“and if you should count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them.”Al-Qur’an; An-Nahl: 18
Today I was writing something related to food memories. Though, I am not supposed to share the snippets of those writings here for some reason; I just can’t stop sharing a thought.
I was wondering as my sister also wonders the same. I am somebody who really struggles to remember her own phone number, today’s date, a particular name, or a particular address. However, the merest sniff emanating from the meal getting cooked in the kitchen at the far end of the lane can take me ten years back into the flashback. Life’s most intimate details come flooding back at the sight, smell, and taste of a particular food.
I was wondering ‘why’ !
Susan Whitborne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts explains, “Food memories are more sensory than other memories in that they involve really all five senses, so when you’re that thoroughly engaged with the stimulus, it has a more powerful effect.” Psychologists explain in detail why food memories can feel so powerful. You can read here.
I paused. And, thought.
It’s true. The involvement with food is not limited to the taste buds only. In fact, it involves all five senses of vision (eyes), hearing (ears), taste (tongue), smell (nose), and touch (skin).
The sheen over the ‘Qorma’ captures your eyes.
The bite of the ‘Qalmi Badey’ crunches in your ears.
The starch from the legumes in your ‘Haleem’ glides over your tongue.
The aroma of the garlic from the ‘Bhagaar’ lingers in your nose.
The texture of the ‘Halwa’ feels on your finger.
No wonder why mere the mention of ‘Anarse ki Goli’ is enough to paint the vivid pictures of those rainy evenings eating ‘Anarse’ while having good heartfelt laughter with cousins in the home whose white-washed walls used to give-off a sweet earthy scent when wet with the rain.
The bounty of food in itself was enough to make us spend this whole life in gratitude. Moreover, we are blessed with five senses to enjoy that food. On top of that, Allaah Subhanahu Ta’aala created food in such an immense variety of shapes, colors, tastes, textures that all of our senses could involve in the act of eating. Eating food for us is not a matter of mere survival, as in the case with many other animals; for us, it is also an enjoyment. Allahu Akbar!
and if you should count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them.[AL-QUR’AN; AN-NAHL: 18]
No wonder, our Master Muhammad (peace be upon him) thanked Allah much for His favours, mentioning food as the first and foremost of them. In this regard, it was narrated that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that when the Messenger of Allah pbuh went to bed, he used to say,
“All praise is due to Allah who has fed us and given us to drink, and has sufficed and granted us refuge, and how many are they who have none to suffice them and none to grant them refuge.”Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
It was narrated that once the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions were offered fresh dates and meat. When they finished eating, the Prophet (PBUH) reminded them of the favour that their Lord bestowed upon them saying,
“By Allah in Whose Hand my life is, this (food) is part of the blessings concerning which you will be questioned on the Day of Resurrection.”Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
And, I am just amazed!
It’s not about food only. It’s about food memories too. They paint such images of the moments close to your heart, darker than any other brush stroke. I read a very interesting story about how lured by a food from her childhood, a woman returns to a country that no longer exists to confront her family’s secret past, on BBC-Travel. Food memories are really strong.
If there had not been the food in different forms receptive for different senses and the senses to feel all those stimuli, not only that we would have been unable to enjoy our fiery ‘Gola Kawab’, we would be no longer holding the memory of Kallu Bhai swaying the fan over burning coals roasting Kawab whenever we used to go to him to buy some on some special days when ‘Phuppa Miyan’ were invited on the dinner.
Thanks, Allaah for everything! For the food and the food memories too.
The Might of Pen
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