Tracing the history of food service in India, serving food in banana leaves was a common practice before the culture of serving food in metal plates came to the mainstream. Indians were not in the habit of using soap until 17th century when Arab traders introduced these which were later popularized by the British invaders. Because it was considered unhygienic to use the same utensil to eat food, therefore using a banana leaf was considered a hygienic practice also because it could be disposed easily, else an individual might just reuse the unwashed utensil over and over again.
To further reason out the prevalent use of banana leaves for food service in India in the past could possibly be that no other variety of leaf which was this large was that accessible. However this cultural practice of serving is still retained even when regular chutneys are replaced by Thousand Island dressing in India and especially in the southern part of India. Here are some of the reasons and benefits of using banana leaves for serving purposes:
— It is one of the most eco-friendly measures and food-serving system. Also because it degrades quickly so unlike metallic plates it doesn’t require extensive cleaning and washing with water.
— It is a healthy. Because banana is rich in antioxidants it helps in fighting and controlling cancer. Several researches also prove that the leaves contain polyphenol oxidase which assists in combating Parkinson’s disease. Its leaves are also used to prepare certain ayurvedic medicines. Therefore by serving hot food on banana leaves, you certainly ensure a good health.
— In spite of eating in a metallic plate which is barely washed, it is better to serve in banana leaves which shall be equally hygienic every time you eat.
— It is a plausible choice. Since not every leaf is as big as banana leaves so banana leaves are a better and practical choice to serve food in.
— It is an authentic practice. Serving in banana leaves communicates effectively our cultural inheritance.