Seasoning cubes have become a very dependable item in the kitchen that enhances the taste and flavour of our foods. They are taking over and obliterating the local spices that are healthier.
A close relative who is also a health practitioner didn’t have a single seasoning cube in her kitchen. I had thought it was ridiculous not having nor cooking without seasoning cubes.
In my wonder, I had thought that I would observe this relative cook one day to see how tasty her food would be. So, one day, I had the privilege. She made Ofe Akwụ, stew popularly made by the Igbo in South-east Nigeria. It is served with rice and made from palm nuts.
Usually, the stew demands a lot of ingredients ranging from dry fish, stock fish, meat of any choice, local spices that enhances the taste and garnished with vegetables.
When she finished cooking, although simple in the ingredients she used, the stew was very tasty. I questioned her to ascertain that truly, there were no cubes in the stew. I was astonished but was not convinced to imagine the possibility of not using cubes in meals.
Recently, another close relative was having health issues that lingered on for more than six months with visits in and out of the hospital and laboratories. There were so many recommendations from medicine to natural herbs and fruits which did nothing for the errant stomach that remained no food, until the matter was taken to the health practitioner relation who at once suggested the problem could come from the cubes.
An A/B test was conducted and a meal with no cubes stopped the months-old sickness.
This was how I was convinced and believed. For the past nine months, I have put a stop to the seasoning cubes and the taste of the foods truly has no changes.
Cubes are manifestly injurious to health. The primary ingredients of the seasoning cubes are salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate (msg), saturated fat, flavouring, and preservatives. Threonine, which gives the flavour of meat at a lower cost than meat itself. High levels of sodium or salt in our diet causes high blood pressure, diabetes and can lead to kidney problems. It highly affects brain cells and increases cardiovascular risks.
In the late 18th century, Benjamin Thompson, also called Count Rumford, invented what preceded the bouillon cubes which were in the form of solidified stock of bones and meat. Subsequently, cubes were made in commercial quantities and are distributed across the world. The general thinking by many –which I was among – is that without the cubes, foods will not be tasty and also, the more there are in the pot, the more the flavour of the dish.
The indigenous spices which are more organic are going extinct with the current generation having little to no interest in them. The older generation that knew little about the cubes are leaving the scene with the knowledge of preparation of these spices.
There is an over dependence of food taste on these cubes and this imparts the society with an increasingly low life span impacted by health issues.
India is known as the home of spices and seasonings, ranging from turmeric, cumin and various other spices. Out of 109 spices listed by ISO (International Standards Organization), India produces about 75 spices. They export these and hold the market lead globally in spices. “In February 2022, the exports of spices from India increased by 7.3% to US$ 291.17 million from US$ 271.4 million in January 2022.” India Brand Equity Foundation stated.
Our local spices should first be appreciated and used, popularised and cultivated for commerce and most importantly for health and sustainability.
There are many, like I was, who don’t think it is a possibility to stop the use of the cubes. Where total stopping of the cubes is not obtainable, then it is advised to reduce the quantity of use. Ultimately, be encouraged to defeat the taste to live as an individual and the local spices to live and importantly, for sustainability and commerce.