Archive for February 9, 2010

Pasta for breakfast, Chowmein for lunch

Globalization has presented India with myriad opportunities, the most tangible among them being the mushrooming  BPO services that provide employment to our millions. With the advantage of cost, geographical position and a vast English speaking population, it has been a virtual flight of jobs, from Boston to Bangalore and from Glasgow to Gurgaon.

But Globalization, by its very nature and implication, cannot remain a one way flow of advantages. As you mow down jobs abroad, you are also battered in a variety of other ways in your home turf. The flooding of the Chinese goods, from  mobile phones to auto accessories, from staple pins to pen drives, have been so complete and devastating that it has already lead to the sickening of many of the home grown industries. The sweet chirping calling bells in most Indian homes have a Chinese origin, the locks that secure them come from China and the glittering, multi-hued lights that decorate these homes during Deepawali have an invariable Chinese stamp to it. Even the little crystal “Ganesha” idol before whom we bow every morning has a  “Made in China” tag under his belly. The Dragon has entered our living rooms, the bed rooms, the bath rooms and even our pooja rooms! 

But it has been its entry into our kitchen that has been the most profound and yet most silent, a bloodless coup, with the Chinese having the company of the Italians in this invasion. Indian palates are now treated to a host of Chinese and Italian cuisines on a daily basis that are rolled out straight from their kitchens. The two-minute noodles, the pastas, the macaronis, the pizzas and the chowmeins have all become part of our gastronomical regimen that they have effectively replaced many of our traditional delicacies.

The ease and the convenience in the preparation of these menus have largely influenced our preferences and the neat “ready-to-cook” packs have only helped in their popularity. Aided by tantalizing commercials and star endorsements, these foods have influenced our children the most. The contents of the school tiffin boxes are a telling story of this tectonic shift in our eating choices and the alien foods that our children are now relishing. When did we last pack “Pulliodarai” with “Vettal” for lunch to our little ones?

While these foods just tickle our taste buds, Indian spreads have a wholesome nutritional value about them that factors in the demands of the climate and the genetic orientations of the population. The increasing numbers of obesity, malnutrition, sluggishness  and other attendant health issues that plague our kids can directly be attributed to the abandoning of our time-tested eating habits and instead lapping up a food culture that is most damaging.

I could easily spot a dozen places where I could have  Szechuan Noodles or  cheese Pizzas with Veggie toppings in my own colony. But where could I find a plateful of mouth-watering “Puttu” with ” Kaddala”? 

Perhaps in Shanghai or maybe in Milan….



PS: For tips on Indian recipes, visit

February 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm 6 comments

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