Conversation between Captain Von Trapp and Fraulein Maria in The Sound of Music
Captain Von Trapp interrupts the song whose opening line is "Raindrops on Roses."
Captain von Trapp: Fraulein Maria, did I or did I not say that bedtime is to be strictly observed in this household?
Maria: Yes, well the children were scared of the thunderstorm and… You did, sir.
Captain von Trapp: And do you or do you not have trouble following these simple instructions?
Maria: Only during thunderstorms, sir.
When I unexpectedly got a chance to visit Trader Joe’s in Elkridge I thought I would get some Os, relieving the dry spell since I stopped buying Cheerios. At first it was because I was waiting for them to go on sale, but by the time they finally did I got wind of some information that stopped me. They are made by General Mills, who has given a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling. (This news appeared in November but I learned about it only recently.) In any case, I haven’t bought Cheerios in almost a year. And now I just won’t be buying them. I learned that Trader Joe’s uses no GMOs in any of its own products and today I walked to the store, ready to make the purchase. As it happens, in Elkridge at least, Trader Joe’s Os appear almost as soon as you enter the store, in the front corner of the first aisle.
To my surprise though, the organic Os were not there. I asked at the Customer Service Desk and the manager looked up something and read out, “Not in Stock.” The note was made in May. He did not know when it was expected. ”Try back next week,” he suggested optimistically. I told him I had come from out of town, and was not likely to come back very soon.
All this searching for GMO-free food and making my views known to the management takes time. Unfortunately I was in a hurry, but I managed to bring up the matter again when I was in the check out line. The cashier sympathized with me and said that he was waiting for the product to come back in stock as well. He also mentioned that it is not uncommon for Trader Joe’s customers to find that the items they want are out of stock. Considering how jam packed the store was, even on Monday at noon, I wonder why they have inventory flow issues on such a popular item as Os, especially when people concerned about GMOs are often also interested in organic food. Even the non organic variety of the Os is GMO-free, according to Trader Joes. All the same, I can do without the modified corn starch which appears on the ingredient list.
For a long time I was in denial about my enthusiasm for Cheerios. After all, it is a highly processed, packaged food and I do not approve of packaged food. Even so, I used to bring some into the house when the price was right.
No longer. Ever since I learned that General Mills, the maker of Cheerios has opposed the right of consumers to know if a product contains genetically modified organisms, I have had to face the uncomfortable and painful fact that Cheerios themselves may contain GMOs and worse, the outrage that their parent company would conceal this information from the public at large. The very same public that has made Cheerios one of the most popular packaged foods in the United States, one that even new parents trust to give their babies. So popular it never ever goes on sale … because it doesn’t have to! Well, no, not never ever if you count the rare occasions that the price comes to $2 for 14 ounces (note that this is still double the price of buying rolled oats or even steel cut oats, and at least triple if you weigh the oats after cooking, but before adding milk), I typically go out and indulge.
No longer. General Mills has contributed more than 1 million dollars to the campaign to defeat California’s Proposition 37 which requires labelling of products containing Genetically Modified Organisms. Plus just look at the second ingredient on the list – Modified Corn Starch.
Soon after I put these pieces of information together, the Cheerios went on sale. I was tempted, but I refrained. In a bid to win back my loyalty, the “biracial ad” came out, along with a spoof. A year ago, I would have joined the cheerleading for Cheerios.
I have to hand it to their ad campaign though. They know how to cover for their crimes and sway the fickle consumer-activists.
The heavy knife that came out every year for cutting straight through the hefty pit of the mango, aptly called the “tanka” is one of my oldest memories of life in West Lafayette, Indiana where we tried to keep just as we learned to make pizza from a Chef Boyardee mix.
We used to drive four hours to Chicago to get Indian groceries, while hearing stories from immigrants of earlier generations talk about ordering from Indian vendors in London. The catalogue would come in the mail, with lists of products and cloth samples of saris. They would place their order and send a money order to London. A month or two later, the products would arrive.
Today we make pizza from scratch, and still bring out the heavy cutlery when it’s time to chop the mangoes.
Avakayi from scratch may become one of the lost arts a generation from now. It is easier than it seems, but for someone who grew up thinking I was earning my cultural points by eating avakayi, it did not occur to me that I was supposed to make it, too.
Taking full advantage of my generations sense of entitlement to homemade avakayi without making ourselves, came a whole bunch of “Swagruha Food” or “own-home” food shops that sold avakayi and other pachhadis by the kilo, and even offered “Abroad Packing.” This basically consisted of packing in a triple layer of plastic bags which were heat sealed.
Without hesitation I ordered 20 kilos and packed it in a cardboard box for my next trip abroad.
Imagine my shock and devastation at BWI airport when they threw the entire lot away, lock, stock and barrel.
It did not pass customs. They mango pieces were too big, they said. They had reasons, we had no right to question, and no avakayi to comfort us in our misery. I did not dare to carry avakayi again, even though other people told me stories of brining in avakayi with no problem, even sending it in the mail. They even threw out my organic brown rice.
Things sure have changed since 1983 when we carried avakayi back in steel dabbas which leaked by the time we got home, but nonetheless came home with us. Not only that, one of our bags was missing and the airlines had to deliver it to us, which they did, leaky oil and all.
Last time I came they specifically asked if I had mango pickle. While I was waiting at baggage claim a dog came over sniffing so the officer looked at my hand bags as well. All they found were some peanuts. I had had a banana in the same bag earlier, so that smell may have remained. “Peanuts are okay,” she said.
Back to ordering mangos and making it all ourselves. We’ll have to write it down this time.
I used Grammarly to check the grammar on this post, because grammar is too important to be left to grammarians!
Do you eat kale?
Kale? As in the leafy green stuff?
Full of vitamins, minerals, all that?
I’ve known people who ate kale. Positively swear by it!
Aravinda almost ate kale once … she read about a vegetarian in DC … can’t say either of them was firing on all cylinders at the time. So she went to the farmer’s market, got all dreamy when she saw these people who fly on plows and they offered to sell her some kale and she accepted it. She looked up Getting raw with spring salads. Anyway chaos obviously ensued until she saw sense and gave it all up.
How would you … eat kale?
Well I guess it depends on whose plow it flew from! A firm grasp with the hand followed by quick action of the jaw should do the trick …
So Actually …. I am trying to eat Raw Food. At first I was envisioning a meal made entirely of raw food, at least once a week, just to get me started. But I read about raw food and am daunted by the ingredients, the photos. So far all I have done is raw snacking. Between lunch and dinner, I reach for the raw. Usually it is just carrots or apples but sometimes I go for seeds as well … flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Well, I have once again bought kale, straight form the Flying Plow, and am aiming to make something of it.
[With a tip of the hat to PG Wodehouse, and gratitude to the The Russian Wodehouse Society. See page 13 for the conversation in question.]
Raw. Stay tuned
So the honeysuckles are back … these are growing near the edge of the open green slope around the corner where I walk. I have been walking up and down that slope for years, maybe decades. Such a nice incline. And one of the few places one can walk backwards downhill, getting a welcome stretch. I think I first discovered that while walking on campus at Johns Hopkins … a path from the Presidents Garden, if I recall correctly.
Well, I walked up and down that slope around the corner while I was pregnant as well … and when my doula asked me where I would like to take my baby after birth, I told her about the honeysuckles growing there. During labour she would remind me “think of the honeysuckles.”
A week after she was born, however, we went to that grassy slope, and the honeysuckles were gone! All of the growth near the edge of the slope was gone.
Today I saw them again. Hope they will stay for a while.
Walmart: The High Cost Of Low Prices FULL MOVIE
On the way back from the farmer’s market, I always see this car. I guess I should be happy that it is parked there and not out on a mission, as displayed on the back of the vehicle. In fact, if you look at Google Maps you can still see this car. Just look at an nameless alley (which Google Maps calls Eastern Alley) between S. Hayes Street and S. Bond Street, a little past where it intersects with Thomas Street, as you come out of the farmers market, which takes place in the parking lot outside the District Court officially known as the Mary Risteau building. Look for a car that has a black top and white front and rear.
Dug a Pit. పని కి ఆహార పధకం లాగ ఉంది , thought I. (This is like food-for-work, or more accurately, work-for-food). 8’ x 2′ x 8” – was not dug all at once, but in three rounds – first unearthing 4 inches, then 2 more, then 2 more. Deeper than my pit were my thoughts, in the hallowed tradition of urban farmers since Thoreau, who said:
”When my hoe tinkled against the stones, that music echoed to the woods and the sky, and was an accompaniment to my labor which yielded an instant and immeasurable crop.” Good thing too … who would dare measure the actual crop?
Had an MNREGA worker dug that pit she’d not even have received a days’ wages, because it would not have taken her a day to do it. It didn’t take me all day either, but I dug only one pit per day. I dug one yesterday too, and probably need to dig one more tomorrow so we can put the rest of the asparagus crowns in the ground.
Culture from near and far, celebrated in downtown Bel Air! There were performances and displays of art and artifacts from different countries. A librarian sat on a bench with a bunch of books from various countries and read aloud to any child who asked.