Just another ‘maggi-cal’ tale

-Radhika Dang, 2nd year, ECE

As I laze around at home, reading a gripping Sidney Sheldon novel, while my younger brother rushes out to the market to grab a couple of packets of Maggi for our evening snack, I cannot help but ponder about what is it about these noodles that has the country mooning over its return.

Sure, it’s tasty. Cooking it requires basically no skill at all! (Though I have seen people who can make ordinary Maggi heavenly, but that’s a story for another day.) Slurping on its noodle strands with the corners of their mouths dripping with its soupy liquid, many people achieve what they call the “ultimate ecstasy” (believe me, that’s how a friend described it *sigh*). But never was it such an enigma before that catastrophic event (read: the Maggi ban). And ever since the ban on it lifted, its glory has touched new highs!—hostel students hold it again with reverence, tired moms heave a sigh of relief as their kids bother them no more about making new and more innovative meals- truly, Maggi fell down only to rise higher than ever before.

The hum of some ad (and NOT a song–no surprise there) playing on the radio makes it easier to think some more about this two minute snack that has recently gained the status of ambrosia in the minds of the people of this country. The moment my brother enters our front door, as if on cue, the radio starts playing, “Dil khush, khush, khushaam!………smile ko salaam – aa gayi maggi, maggi, MAGGI!!” –i.e. the new Maggi ad. Clearly someone just turned a really long ban into an excellent business opportunity.

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Since we had a pact that one of us has to get the Maggi from the store, while the other one prepares it, it was my turn to head to the kitchen and showcase my excellent culinary skills. Great! More time to analyze (or maybe over-analyze) this phenomenal come-back.

Basic economic theory says that when the supply of a commodity falls in the market, its demand rises. In Maggi’s case, this rise was almost exponential. The social media had a huge role to play in this propaganda. Before that lead sample test tuned out to be positive, Maggi was the one constant thing everyone could rely on. Sure, it’s not healthy. But when you’re staying up late watching season after season of HIMYM(How I Met Your Mother), hunger is bound to strike right smack in the middle of the night. That’s when Maggi comes to the rescue. So when it was taken away, for many people, it was as if their way of life had been snatched away from them. They tried everything they say. Some stocked up on Maggi discreetly like the state of emergency had been declared, while others tried out different brands, though they claim that nothing beats the original taste. It’s not like the other players in the instant noodle industry didn’t take advantage. Patanjali, for one, did lots of quick business-their primary fans being parents who were sick of seeing their children devour Maggi and it’s other “maida” substitutes for years. Blessed by the baba himself, the product would have done really well had it not been for that tiny bug that found its way into one of the packets. Other brands too did some nice business. Our very own Maggi baba had to resort to being “Yippie-Baba” for quite a long time. But none of them could establish a monopoly until the reigning champion returned.

Before the ban, too, I was no huge fan of Maggi myself. I didn’t crave it like most of my hostel friends did. So it was no big deal having it only once in two months. Part of the reason why I didn’t like it as much could be their slightly ridiculous ad campaigns- how the irresponsibly lazy ad-mom feeds her children a bowl of trans fat and sodium and calls that a healthy breakfast. Or how one packet of Maggi is equivalent to a 3 roti meal and is wonderfully nutritious. So when it was marked unsafe a few months ago, it didn’t really affect my world by that much. What did bother me a little, though, was the hype around its return. Two days before Diwali, it hit the market again, only to be cleared off the shelves in a flash, starting the Diwali celebrations early. There was a sudden craze among people for getting their hands on Maggi as quickly as possible, now that it had been marked safe temporarily. Somehow, people have forgotten that even if it is safe, it’s anything but nutritious, contrary to what Nestle claims. Yet, it has become the latest fad among people. And Maggi is completely encashing on this opportunity. A new series of ads campaigning its safety, welcome back songs (thanks to that one, we get to hear some music on the radio.)- What not? And why shouldn’t they? No company should have to go through what Nestle has had to face in the last few months. They faced the worst kind of PR disaster and sales crisis. Their stock prices dropped, sales dropped, their factories were shut, and people who worked in those factories were suddenly jobless. Nestle is only doing what any company would to recover their losses. So great job, nestle. The Indian obsession with Maggi will surely help you recover your losses soon enough.

I don’t, however, think that it’s just about economics when I examine the possible causes of this sudden hype around “the Maggi returns”. Apart from a few people for whom their sole reason for existence is getting enough likes on anything they post on Facebook, the support that Maggi has gathered both online and offline is probably not because of its so called superior taste, or its “nutritious value”, but the emotional value that people have attached with the product. How hostellers ransacked every room in the night hunting for the last packet, or how one sibling stole a couple of bites when the other wasn’t looking, or how children prided over having prepared a better meal than their moms, while their mothers played along with them in good humour—Maggi has indeed been an integral part of our lives for a long time, and it is clearly here to stay. Too many memories are entangled in its noodle strands. I am reminded of some of my own as I ladle my now prepared Maggi evenly into two plates. I am not a Maggi loyalist, but every once in a while, being reminded of how our dad would entertain us both on Friday afternoons- with him assuming the role of the head chef, making us his faithful sidekicks, and getting us to eat all our veggies with Maggi while narrating wonderful stories of his childhood (for that’s the day he had his weekly off, and that same day every week, my mother’s shift ended later than usual.)- That small memory is priceless.

So this is where I stop analyzing the enigma that is this definitely-not-healthy-yet-strangely-lovable snack, for I have my own plate of Maggi to focus on before it goes cold. Because everyone knows there is nothing worse than cold, clumped Maggi.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 CULINARY DELIGHTS

-Namya Bajaj, 3rd Year, ENE

We generally prefer a place which serves us with delectable food, offers a nice ambience and is reasonably priced but people are content shelling out a few thousand rupees to celebrate some special occasions at an upmarket restaurant.

So, if it is your father’s birthday and just to make him feel a little more special and loved, you decide to take him and of course your mom and your siblings to a five star restaurant or maybe a seven star for that matter. * Wink*.

Sit back in amused relatability as I begin to share the kind of reactions we have when we’re presented the menu.

Not to forget, a check-in is a must. As soon as you make yourself comfortable amidst the live music in the background and elaborate live counters for food like grill and kebabs, a waiter very nicely dressed up comes up to you and offers you the menu which in itself is a puzzle to solve if it is a multi-cuisine restaurant. No doubt, the menu would acquaint you with some of the most acclaimed local and international specialities found in Delhi and across the world.

The first look at the menu and the column on the right, in particular, makes you just flip the pages for the first minute.  There is always one member in the family whose heart might skip a beat if you stay at the Soup, Salads and the Appetizers page for more than two minutes. Although there was some space in the belly for a paneer tikka but 1400 rupees filled it up. Trying the main course directly is what is preferred because we’re not that hungry, right?

Just after you order the paneer (with a fancy name) or dal, the reaction on the breads is worth noting. A 200 Rs naan, roti or ‘the’ parantha makes me wonder, do they sprinkle gold flakes on the tava? *skeptic grin*.

Let’s order a dessert? Shall we? The meal is incomplete without a dessert but would this saying be applicable to a five star cuisine too? Why not eat a Cadbury five star, eh? I would hesitate paying 475 Rs for a gulab jamun when I can have a 1 kg chocolate ice cream for Rs 150 at a nearby mother dairy.

Anyhow, they would easily manage to orchestrate a fantastic meal for you. The best part. Fancy (read: expensive) though!

Money can’t buy everything but can surely let you have best signature dining experiences.

Recalling Maggi: Our 2-min Little Liar

Here’s saying goodbye to ‘Meri Maggi’

-Nisha Yadav, 3rd Year, MC

Waiting for the clock to strike twelve, a bunch of girls lurking around the hostel gate waiting for their mid-night snack to arrive. After studying furiously for their upcoming exam for hours when pangs of hunger hit, who doesn’t want a good tasty mouth – watering break. Maggi – our midnight “breakfast” cum all-nighter – not just served as a stress buster but also as a mean of energizing the students one last time prior to exam, saying “Abhi toh puri raat bachhi hai……(aur syllabus bhi!)”

When studying turns into merely staring at the same two lines for the past half-an-hour or so, students or rather boys- the luckier half of the college- share a look of understanding. It’s time for a break, it’s time to visit MAGGI BABA!

2. maggi

Whatever your age-group is, we all have fond memories of living on Maggi and loving the instant noodle, until now! The recent news of excessive Lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in Maggi noodles has caused a crisis in thousands of lives. Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, New Delhi and Assam have banned its sales and several other cities await test results to confirm or deny the sale of the popular snack.

4. maggi

Though we all know the violation of safety standards in various sectors isn’t new in India, the real leaden feeling is that of betrayal! Recollecting the Coca Cola instance, a company which only marketed itself as “Life Tastes Good” not as “Life Tastes Healthy”, Maggi on the other hand claimed “Taste bhi health bhi. Its false 2-min claim made us laugh and  because of the main ingredient being maida and the tastemaker containing high salt and calorie content, we knew it was too good to be true, but causing serious health hazards was only  a nightmare.

The weak implementation of law and regulations in India resulting in too many culprits than the handcuffs is the issue which has been raised yet again and again. Despite being aware of such violations, the government allows domestic and foreign food manufacturing companies to have a free reign? To ensure product approval and the quality label, proper testing and regular inspections of the major brands should be done. As of now the FSSAI officials and the state governments are simply pointing fingers at each other for this blunder. The brand ambassadors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta who endorsed the product are also liable for action for the misleading advertisement.

3. maggi

With Live larvae found in Nestle’s milk powder the following may also face the heat :-

  • Smith and Jones Chicken Masala Noodles , Reliance Select Instant Noodles and Wai Wai Xpress Noodles
  • Complan Pista Badam
  • Heinz’s baked beans
  • Kellogg’s Oats and Honey
  • Kurkure and Lays
  • Pastas, sauces, soft drinks

On the other hand, talking about the filthy street food, which is not even tested for matching the standards and is probably unhygienic and harmful for our health, it is neither banned nor discouraged by us. The Most Probable Number (MPN) of coliform bacteria has been found as high as 2,400, whereas the permissible limit is only 50.

Only time will tell whether this issue is going to be a serious curtain raiser OR just another breaking news headline. Will we have to suffer with the hostel mess food? Or will Maggi Baba turn into Yippee Baba? Though there is hope that the summer vacations might heal things, who knows what’s more to come!

Good Bye Meri Maggi!

Stats Courtesy – Times of India, Indian express and Business-Standard

Summer Foods

By: Mohd Fahad, 3rd year, AE

So long it has been, and still no respite from summer. The rains come and go at intervals, giving us hope, rather than assurance, than monsoon might be coming soon. In the meantime, to survive this heat, we give you a list of the items that you can consume (eat/drink) to get some relief and much needed coolness to your body. Some of these are your run of the mill items that everyone knows about, but a few of these are not known to most, and the benefits of these are generally ignored. So here goes:-

1. Fruits and fruit juices:

For the summer season, regular consumption of fruits like water melon and musk melon is a must, as they fulfill the water requirement of the body and at the same time, provide us with sugar for instant energy.

Another seasonal fruit, the favorite fruit of us all, the king of fruits, the almighty mango is a very useful fruit for the body- for in addition to its yummy taste, Mango provides us with sugar and glucose to revive us after a very exhausting session of outdoor activity.

Fresh fruit juices are all very healthy and good to cool down the body. But stay away from packaged juices!

fruit-juices

 

2. Vegetables and their derivatives:

One vegetable, which must be consumed regularly, is cucumber. With more than 90% of a cucumber comprising of only water, there’s nothing better than a cucumber to have as a quick snack. Add a dash of lime and salt and you have one of the tastiest ‘salads’ ever.

My grandma, as part of her ‘Dadimaa ke gharelu nuskhe’ classes for me, told me that if I have green vegetables like the various kinds of gourds, I am supposed to have an increased body stamina to work for longer in this weather.

Another idea that she gave me was that seeds of fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, melons, cucumber etc., dried and soaked overnight, and taken in the morning are very healthy as they rejuvenate us by providing the necessary minerals to fight the heat.

A few sprigs of fresh mint, added to ANYTHING that you’re having, make for a very refreshing taste.

3. Sugarcane Juice:

Now the reason we did not add sugarcane juice under ‘Fruits and fruit juices’ is that this juice has an identity of its own. It’s unlike all other fresh fruit juices in the fact that the only real health benefit it provides is replenishing our body glucose, as it has pure unrefined sugar in it, and in humungous amounts! One sip of a glass of freshly prepared sugarcane juice and you feel the difference. It quenches your thirst and provides you with instant energy. Add a dash of lime, some mint sprigs and some black salt, and you have one lip-smacking cold drink.

4. Fresh lemonade:

‘The humble lemonade’ as I call it, has been a summer special drink for many generations now. A chilled glass of water, a lemon squeezed in it, along with some sugar or honey, and you have a sure shot winner of a drink. Instant energy, thirst quenching, vitamin C, requisite sugar and a soothing effect on the body, this drink surely is a brilliant weapon to beat the heat.

 

Iced-cold-lemonader

 

5. Yoghurt and its derivatives:

Yoghurt and its derivatives (like Lassi etc) offer a good soothing effect. Along with the sugar that you add, they also provide us with instant carbohydrates and fat for the energy needs of our body. And for the milk lovers, you’ll love the taste too!

6. Sharbat Rooh Afza:

Well I know some people who almost loathe the RoohAfza, and frankly speaking, I have no idea why. The weird fragrance apart, RoohAfza is THE most refreshing drink ever produced. A chilled glass of RoohAfza revitalizes you like no other drink can. And then there’s loads of other ayurvedic ‘tatva’ and ‘jadi bootiyan’ which are very healthy supposedly.

7. Chuski

Some like ‘kala khatta’, some like mango, some like ‘tiranga’, and I like ‘khus’. Everyone has their own choices, but I doubt you’ll find anyone who does NOT like ‘chuski’. Now c’mon, a glass full of crushed ice with lip smacking flavors to beat the scorching heat, what else can you want?

8. Aam Panna

Aam panna is a tangy syrupy drink made from raw mangoes. Consisting of sugar and spices apart from mango, it is an effective remedy for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It also quenches thirst and prevents excessive loss of salt and iron due to sweating. Those of you who have never had it, I strongly recommend you to try it at least once.

9. Wood Apple Juice (Bel Ka Sharbat):

Now this is one drink that many of you Delhi-NCR folks must have seen, but very few may have consumed. Also called Elephant Apple or Monkey Fruit, this is indeed a very healthy fruit. Apart from being good for digestion and kidney health, it also helps to maintain a clear respiratory system and provide us with Vitamin C. For the summer season, wood apple juice provides us with much needed energy and leaves us refreshed on a whole. It also helps the body to fight the heat and increase body fluids. Do give it a taste.

 

Vegan-Fruit-Lollies

 

This is a very small list and you can add many cold drinks, juices, ‘banta’, milk shakes etc. to this list. But we have tried to keep this list simple and healthy. As you may have noticed, barring ‘Chuski’, none of the aforementioned items contain any kind of artificial flavors (yes, RoohAfza is completely natural!). I hope you’ll try these food items/drinks and will realize that they do indeed help you to fight the scorching summers. And the taste! Trust us, you won’t regret trying these out. Bon apetit!

Be a gourmand, eat for pleasure!

By: Abhishek Dhyani, 3rd Year, PSCT.

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Peach Melba – the dessert shown here was first made by French chef Auguste Escoffier in the honor of Australian singer Nellie Melba in 1892 (amazingly).
Food has come a long way from being a necessity to quench hunger to an art portrayed as a delicacy. The moment your taste buds get activated due to the burst of the vibrant flavor, you are sure to have an everlasting effect. According to nutritional psychologists, “Half of the nutrition is what you eat, but the other half is how you eat.” (which just justifies my point)
Food isn’t always bland. Nor is it cheap. What makes it beautiful is the fusion of individual elements like texture, taste, flavor, crisp and aroma. Raw food containing a particular type of flavor may taste completely different in combination. It is an art and rather a tiring job to recognize these discrete elements but it definitely isn’t a daunting task to enjoy them. And sometimes even though you are finished eating, your taste buds/mind/heart crave for more!
Scientifically speaking, the part of the brain that turns on relaxation is which turns on digestion, while the part of the brain that activates stress and anxiety (elements suppressing taste), turns off digestion. So when you’re munching on your favorite dessert, full of fear or guilt, you are less likely to witness the satisfaction at the end. Also, the faster you consume the dish, the more time the brain and the digestive system need to know what’s going on with your food.
So live life like a gourmand. Slow down and cherish every bite which can actually help you escape your tiredness after a long day at work or college. Get used to experience mouth watering  flavors once here and there; if it’s simple, no one can stop you from adding an extra zest. After all, you are what you eat.  

A Resolution

Shreya Shankar, 3rd year, MC

 

For all the folks with some extra pounds!


Clothes do not fit

And sometimes, they even rip

Let’s not talk of food,

As apprehensions always loom

And as always, we are swayed in a tide of gloom.

Calories we count

And the lost days of fitness, we recount;

Butter, oil and sugar

Were friends ofyesteryears;

Chocolate, a long lost lover.

Hope keeps us alive!

That one day, pounds we shall shed

And we swear it on our bread!

That whatever it takes

We’ll break up with cakes

And pastries (truffles!) at dusk

To fit in that old red dress,

We’ll give up on the entire glutton

For days of sorrow

Shall end, one fine day….

But let us finish this cup of ice-cream,

We shall start our diet tomorrow!

 

Delhi Delights

Aradhana Gahlaut, 3rd Year, ENE

Chances are if you’ve been to Ambience Vasant Kunj in the past month or so, you’ve noticed a fancy place with a large crowd at what used to be Zambar.  This new kid on the block is Indigo Delicatessen.

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Well known in Mumbai for their sumptuous sandwiches and burgers as well as deserts, this elegant Deli has finally made it’s way to the capital. The food and cooking items displayed tastefully in the glass shelves outside the window make it quite easy on the eyes, with shelves inside the restaurant containing bread and other items for retail.

A tad on the higher side, this lovely Deli is definitely quaint enough to go for a date or with an old friend and it’s varied menu has the ability to impress.

How to get there: Take the yellow line till Chhatarpur metro station and then an auto rickshaw till Ambience. The Deli is located on the 3rd floor, opposite Chili’s.