Finally, a ray of hope as the number of Covid cases sees a major dip since the onset of the second wave. Phones start ringing and people start making plans to catch up. While I was quite excited to meet my friends after long, another long-forgotten tradition of family get-togethers was looming large on our heads (my mother’s to be precise). At my house, it is my mother who is our “annapurna” , the giver of food and nourishment. From everyday meals to lavish feasts, she knows how to do it all. Moreover, she cooks so well that we end up making extravagant demands too. 

While the daily work is manageable, it is when we have a huge dinner party or gathering at home, that she dreads going into the kitchen. Cooking an elaborate meal, right from the chicken tikkas and seekh kebabs, dal makhni and butter chicken to gulab jamun, for a bunch of 15-20 people is no joke. My sister and I do assist her as much as we can but the onus of majority of the cooking and serving lies on her. Then there are associated tasks of getting out the fancy cutlery, cleaning it, laying the table, setting the house and the list goes on. 

I can’t forget her tired and extremely exhausted face by the time everyone has left and she is cleaning up the mess. One question that pops in my head at this hour is, “Was that really a party for her?” or “Did she even enjoy herself?”. The answer doesn’t seem to be an affirmative one. 

In the wake of such a scenario, I came across some called grazing tables, an Australian food trend of 2019 that is gaining momentum now. To give you a faint idea, it is like a hassle-free, easy to arrange buffet system for dinners, house parties, get-togethers etc. If you are well-versed with the concept of buffets, you would know as tempting as it sounds, it takes a whole lot of effort to put it together. 

Grazing tables are here to make the lives of our matriarchs easier. According to Grazia India, they can be defined as “artfully curated tables laden with cheese, crackers, dips, and an array of savoury and sweet food styled to perfection”. They allow the scope for a diverse menu and can be modified according to your theme and setting. 

If this is giving you the impression that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy hot delicacies, that’s not true. Bite-sized sandwiches, burgers, mini-pizzas and various other savouries can feature on these tables. They are placed aesthetically and logically so that it is easy for the guests as well as the hosts to eat and enjoy the party stress-free. 

Since there is not much of chopping, cutting, stirring pans and pots, it is just a matter of pre-preparation so that when your guests arrive, your mother can sit, chat and laugh over food and drinks too. Breaking the traditional expectations of being served, grazing tables have revolutionized the concepts of patriarchy and equality in unexpected ways. 

Isn’t it amazing how a food trend could bring a new-found freedom for the matriarchs of the family?