Everyone knows that there are two types of people in the world when it comes to food – those who eat to live and those who live to eat. If you’re the type that lives to eat, then you would know that nothing in the world sounds better than the “ping” announcing that your food is ready. That ping can be the ping of your oven or the ping at a fast food joint, it doesn’t matter. You would know that those clichés where people say that their favorite thing to do is to curl up in the bed with some chocolate pudding and a book or a movie are all true. You would know that if there’s one thing in this world that has the power to make you smile, it’s food.

The biggest dilemma in the life of a foodie who knows to how cook is whether to go out to eat or to stay at home and cook. I’m a foodie. I love cooking. I made my first chapatis when I was six and I woke up in the middle of the night with my stomach rumbling. I didn’t want to wake my mother up so I went into the kitchen and found some left overs, but there were no chapatis. So my six year old self decided that she really wanted to have warm, soft, chapatis and she made them. Of course they were hard and crisp and slightly burnt but that was when I realized that cooking was exciting. After that, I often used to wait for my mother to go take her afternoon nap so that I could go into the kitchen and cook something for myself. I thought one day I would surprise my mother by cooking a meal for her all by myself. That never happened because the first time I cut my finger, I ran to her crying. Nonetheless, almost everyone who is passionate about food and about cooking remembers the first time they made something and how amazing and excited they felt.

Food brings happiness to us in many ways. It’s not just the eating part that makes people happy; it’s also the cooking part. Having a chocolate cake that you baked yourself sure feels amazing. But it feels even better when you’re eating it with a bunch of people who love it and they tell you so.

So when you know how to cook amazing food, which isn’t a difficult thing to do, and you enjoy it, why would you want to go out and eat? I’ll tell you. When you go out and you order something new and you eat it, it gives you a rush because you can’t wait to get home and try making it. Often, you might fail to reproduce that dish. After a point, you even give up. So you go out and back to that place to eat the same thing again and again because that place makes that one particular dish perfectly. And this way, over time, you label places with particular dishes that they make and if someone wants to eat that thing, you know the perfect place to take them to.

A foodie knows that there should be no discrimination between a roadside vendor and fancy restaurant. A nice little dhaba tucked away in some corner has the potential to serve as good food as that fancy place near the fancy mall. The only thing that should matter is hygiene. Not all dhabas are unhygienic and not all restaurants are hygienic. Also, if you’re a student and you keep dining at pricey places, your parents will soon realize that the extra pocket money you’re asking for, is not for ”research material” and that, my friend, is not a good thing. It’s not difficult to get addicted to good food so you need to keep in mind that those pricey places with the orgasmic food are a luxury. They should be treated like the occasional cigarette. You plan on ahead and save up for weeks to eat there. Or you spend the money you were given to buy shoes to eat there and walk around with your toes poking out of your shoes as a punishment. (If, in case, that does happen, you have my sympathies.)

Another golden rule when it comes to food – never waste food. You have a little too much food and none of it can go in the fridge? There are plenty of men, women and children out there who need it. Take a walk after your meal, a healthy habit too, and give it to someone who needs it. Can’t find someone? Put it out with a bowl of milk and the Dog Fairy will make sure it vanishes by the time morning rolls around.

Food, books, pets – to each, their own. Or some people prefer to have a combination of any two or even all three in their lives to be able to call it a perfect and happy life. Whatever the combination be, you need food in there to be happy – or even to simply survive. If you eat to live, slow down once and think about the taste of the food you’re eating, think about the texture, the feel of it and think about the story behind that plate of food because be it the burnt chapatis I made when I was six or be it the chef’s signature dish at a restaurant every plate of food has a story to tell.