First they warned against butter, now against bread: What is left to eat?

Now that bread, once the staff of life and the stuff we broke with each other, has been found guilty in Delhi, there goes another pillar of culinary probity.

A report gives the details of the supposedly cancer-causing chemicals being used in the bread samples tested, which included brands such as Britannia, Harvest Gold and the fast food chains — KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Subway, McDonald's and Slice of Italy.

According to the source, Britannia, KFC, Domino's, McDonald's and Subway have denied that these chemicals were used in their products.

Representational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

Although credit is given to Marie Antoinette, rather dubiously, for having suggested cake as a substitute, one can imagine that in the offices of Maggi, some smart cookie is coming up with a campaign offering noodles and butter instead.

But, truly, food and adulteration seem to be close buddies. Watered down milk was a staple when we were growing up. The milkman even had different prices for each level of mix.

Then again, what is good for us?

Remember the days when you were told to eat all your leafy vegetables or else no ice cream? And you looked at that spinach like it was algae from the sea and you prodded it and slid it around the plate in the hope that it would sink into the ocean again. My friend who has just crossed 60 has been told by his doctor to avoid all leafy vegetables because they might cause knotting of the intestines. He tells me from his Calcutta bed that they have cut out ice cream too.

Great. Wonderful. Who are all these people ruining our lunch? Every now and then, I like to update my banned items' list and add new stuff so that one day there'll be nothing left to eat that is good for us and then we can lift the ban on everything and go back to square one.

Face it, the whole thing has to do with guilt, so you buy derivatives of the real thing under the fond belief that this will be good for you. Then, a few months down the road they will tell you there isn't enough Riboflavin in the stuff and you've now got a choice of either crumbling with shame or ensuring that your Riboflavin intake is upped immediately. Let's recap.

Bread was the staff of life. Now, it clogs your arteries. Brown bread was better till it rendered space to bran. Bran was good but it became a mockery when wheatgerm was introduced. And with each shift, the price went up too.

Remember butter? With toast. With scones. On biscuits. In cakes. They replaced it with a substitute. Then they replaced the substitute with a low-cal substitute. Then the low-cal substitute was dumped for a non-fat variation, and no one tells us what is in this seventeenth substitute that is so good for us we can't have a pat of butter.

Salt was of the earth, the essence of loyalty and service, and once used as currency to judge a man's character. Now, it gives you blood pressure and makes you slow and stodgy. So you have this non-sodium substitute that makes you ill.

When monosodium glutamate was introduced, we choked our food with it to enhance flavour. Now, it is the equivalent of offering strychnine.

Milk was the epitome of human kindness and we sloshed in that stuff. The new thing is that dairy products are 'uh oh' stuff and you have to be very careful. So you can have soybean milk as a substitute. Ever heard a soy bean say moo?

Tea and coffee died a long time ago. As did red meat. Touch it at your own peril. Red wine will pickle your kidneys and give you gout.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Guaranteed to get gout, pretty silly you will look after the seekh kebabs, hobbling around with a swollen toe. Remember sugar, a term of endearment and as much a giver of energy as the main ingredient in festivities? Now, you might as well shove a dagger in your solar plexus and end it right there. This is all very fine, but has anyone ever thought to look into all these substitutes we are having?

Eggs on your face are fine but not in your tummy. Chocolates kill. Lentils are sinful. Wheat is dicey. Rice sucks big time. Potatoes are daggers and tomatoes mean self-immolation. No one in their right mind eats dessert anymore. Cheese means deceased.

I checked out what we had for lunch. There was monoglyceride and diglyceride followed by hydrogenated oil for one dish, and the other contained hydrolised oil, not that I know the difference. Then, three helpings of monosodium glutamate, something called sodium caseinate, a generous pile of xanthan gum and a gelling agent that was unidentified. Lots of stabiliser and a sprinkling of sodium citrate to go with it.

Then, I had my daily dose of folic acid, E331 emulsifier, calcium disodium EDTA, pectin and guar gum.

All this evidently is better for me than a glass of cold milk. Or a slice of bread.

I am just waiting for the day when they say don't eat anything on your plate, are you crazy?


Published Date: May 24, 2016 04:51 pm | Updated Date: May 24, 2016 05:40 pm


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