Maggi noodles has never been my comfort food. Unless you count the countless times it has helped comfort me from hunger away in a hostel that served consistently bland food. But I experimented. Maggi, Top Ramen, Yippee, Wai Wai. They all worked for me. I threw in a generous amount of tomato ketchup to get the right tang. Goodbye, soul wrenching hunger. But the health people can’t let us lie in peace, it seems. Exactly how you feel when you spot a red ant in the bottom of your lemonade glass – after you’ve finished it.
Maggi has too much MSG, it seems. That’s monosodium glutamate for you. Very bad for your health. It also has excess lead. Imagine lead! At a time when even gasoline comes unleaded. I experience deja vu about that time Coke had pesticides, Cadbury had worms and Dominos pizzas had filth (apart from loads of calories, of course). Unsavoury substances have a curious habit of penetrating the foods we love best. The big bad brands hide the realities of their quality systems to dupe us out of our money and health. Isn’t it awesome to find someone to blame for all our health failings in this age of cynicism, lifestyle disorders and absence of exercise?
Don’t get me wrong. I am neither defending nor bashing Nestle. The devil is in the noodles – um, the details, and let’s give them a chance to clarify. Maggi has been everyone’s favourite snack for a long time. (Not yours, I know. You are either a Top Ramen loyalist or a higher mortal who eats only salads.) I remember kids in school, hassled with their rotis and sabjis, fascinated with the kid who brought Maggi for lunch. For the Mom wanting to whip up a quick meal, Maggi was indeed a gift. Granny used to make us Maggi on cold Sunday mornings. She ignored the taste-maker and added a delicious combination of masalas and vegetables to the boiled noodles. I am lazier; I use the taste-maker generously. With time, I will admit, I have weaned off Maggi and switched to – no, not salads, but pasta. (Err)
I wonder if our years of Maggi are germinating into a physical disorder inside our bodies. What is the likelihood of lead poisoning from spoonfuls of Maggi as opposed to lead in the environment? (Oh, there are ample sources of exposure.) What about all those shops that sell variations of Maggi at a premium – egg Maggi, chilly chicken Maggi, et al? I am not overly attached to my noodles (or “Indian Chinese” in general), but removing them from the face of the country seems unsettling.
Anyway, while we are at it, we should also remove the flies from the sweet shop, the grime from the panipuri wallah, the roaches from our kitchens, the maida from processed foods and the lack of exercise from our routines. I doubt if we can do this in 2 minutes.