In the absence of comfort food...

Noodle doodle

When was the last time you had your 2 am waali maggi? While our favourite comfort food is on the verge of extinction, Metrolife got in touch with some mothers and students who express angst and happiness, in varying degrees, over the ‘ban’ on their easy-to-make noodles.

“I don’t remember a single sleepover with my friends, where we didn’t have maggi, later in the night after dinner,” says Priyakshi Baruah, a third year undergraduate student from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University.

The general convenience and the ease of cooking the two-minute wonder food are alien to none. Twenty-one year-old Amandeep Saluja says, “College going students, especially those who stay away from their families, regard maggi as their favourite meal, the only food that they can have at any point of the day.”

With a surprisingly different and amusing angle, Saluja relates the food as representative of the unity in diversity of our country. “I remember how maggi added seven recipes to a menu at a cafe in Kerala...I had a sambhar Maggi there; when I was in Mumbai once, I had a chilli chicken maggi and finally I still relish the soothing and heart-warming noodles that I had in Leh. One can go anywhere in India where everything, from the people, their lifestyle and their languages to their cultures, is different. But one thing is common, Maggi!” she gasps.

The mention of these places immediately takes one back to those vacations of hill-stations, where our comfort food tasted better than the best. While the unhealthy contents of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the popular noodles brand–recently exposed–cannot be ignored, one cannot escape the void that has been created by the absence of these noodles.

Ritu Chawla, mother of a 14-year-old feels that “the noodles brand shouldn’t have been banned.” “My son used to have Maggi every day, he loved it so. There are so many other food items that are adulterated and it is just these noodles that came in the limelight, so the government banned it. All the other food items should also be banned then...” she tells Metrolife.

However, Deepti Duggal heaved a sigh of relief when she heard about the ban on Maggi. “I’ll make it sure that my five-year-old daughter doesn’t have even a spoonful  of these noodles now,” she said.

Speaking about ‘adulteration, addition of harmful additives and ingredients to enhance the flavour and colour of popular food items, including paneer (cottage cheese), milk, regular masalas, cooking oils and even vegetables, Duggal explains, “Unlike the case of Maggi, one doesn’t know about adulteration in other food items, unless it is specifically pointed out, which is probably why we continue to consume them, without much of a worry...”

Meanwhile, Renu Arora, a homemaker and a doting mother, offers a telling and somewhat comforting comment on the ban of this popular food item. “If Maggi was something that could be had anytime and anywhere, then sooner or later, alternative items will surely be available in the market. If experts have declared it to be harmful, then it’s for our own good that it has been banned,” she said.

While many swear that in the absence of these popular noodles their “hunger pangs remain unsated,” there is hope that the hot soupy concoction that has the nation in a bind, will soon be back on the table.

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