From a family feats fit for kings to offensive food sign boards. It has been quite a week for us fellow foodies. So bring out your fork and knives and brace yourself for a round-up of this week's garma-garam food khabar.
Another Thursday is upon us, and here in Slurrp World, it signals time for another round-up of the most garma-garam food khabar of the week. And we because we in no way believe that delays of any sort should be entertained when it comes to matters of parosna, we’ll dive right in, right away.
The Luckiest Man In The World (At Least This Week)
You know how inquisitive, well-meaning people sometimes ask you, “If you could be any other person, alive or dead, who would you be and why?” And then tell you the question is worth 50 marks and counts towards your admission test for Heaven? We, finally, have the definitive answer. And there’s no one we’d rather be than…
Eluru resident Buddha Muralidhar. (Drumroll please, thank you.)
Now, the casual reader may, on encountering this name, wonder if our choice is guided by some philosophical or spiritual attributes this man has mastered, much like his famous namesake (you know, the one who attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree).
But no, it is Muralidhar’s specific fortune that has got us so invested in being him.
On Makar Sankranti, as we mere mortals went about our business, giving thanks for the packet of tilgul the neighbour pityingly dropped into our hands, Buddha Muralidhar was living his best life. His in-laws had arranged a festive feast for him — and the menu comprised 379 dishes.
Muralidhar’s wife Koruballi Kusuma told media outlets that her parents had started the preparations for the feast a week in advance. Business Today assures us that Muralidhar did not go hungry, as these 379 dishes included: “30 different varieties of curries, rice, pulihora, biryani, traditional Godavari sweets, hot and cold beverages, biscuits, fruits and cakes”. (Please excuse us for a moment, as we cry into our bowl of lukewarm and lumpy khichdi.)
Now lest you tell us that this is an outlier and surely one shouldn’t want to swap one’s whole being with another individual’s just because they got to feast on one festival day, hold right up. Allow us to quote this paragraph from another news report: Muralidharan had “always wanted to marry into a family in Godavari because they are known for their hospitality”...and “did not hesitate when his parents received a proposal for him from Kusuma’s relatives”.
Muralidharan’s faith seems to be founded in fact. Just last year, a Godavari district family was in the news for serving 356 dishes to their prospective son-in-law. This elaborate dinner (or lunch) for the damaad is apparently a Pedda Panduga (Makar Sankranti) tradition in the region.
Well played, Buddha Muralidhar. In this life or next, We Will Be You. Khichdi ki kasam.
A Not-So-Lucky Bunch
While Muralidhar-san was off feasting, a group of students at Delhi’s Hansraj College were having a less delicious time.
Ever since the students returned to campus in February 2022, after the pandemic, they found the canteen was missing a crucial element: non-vegetarian dishes. While there was no official statement from the administration about any change in rules, there was no denying it — not even a morsel of murgh was to be found on campus. To add insult to injury, some of the students who had brought back eggs from home alleged that they were confiscated by hostel authorities.
The college’s unit of the Students’ Federation of India now plans to protest against this diktat that is keeping them from their beloved sources of protein. Will they succeed? Only time, and the canteen kaki will tell.
Are ‘Pure Veg’ Eatery Signboards Offensive?
Or are they merely an indicator of food availability and preparation methods? A viral tweet this week noted that the use of the word “pure” at vegetarian restaurants made it seem as though other food choices were “impure”. Those responding to the tweet disagreed, saying “pure” in this case only meant that “exclusively” vegetarian food was prepared on the premises.
What’s our stance on this issue? Oh, we’re firmly on the side of pure…gluttony.
A pair of Indian researchers has — taking a cue from the growing global acceptance for the idea — proposed that insects are the answer to combating food scarcity in the future. Arup Kumar Hazarika and Unmilan Kalita of Cotton University and Barnagar College, respectively, have listed the many benefits of an insect-based diet for the human race, including the nutritional value. Further, they propose that switching animal feed to an insect-based mix could free up the massive amounts of land that are currently devoted to growing food for livestock.
Our thoughts? Crisp up that caterpillar, we’ll take one for the planet!
Is This The World’s Biggest Spoilsport?
Fine, maybe we’re being hyperbolic. Maybe she isn’t the world’s biggest spoilsport, maybe she’s just a medium-sized spoilsport. But you know what, we feel so personally attacked by this display of spoilsport-edness, we may have temporarily lost our ability to be the sort of reasonable individuals William Lloyd Garrison liked to reason with.
Okay, deep breaths.
Prof Susan Jebb, who the Guardian (and we presume her curriculum vitae) describes as “chairwoman of the Food Standards Agency” has advised people against carrying cake to their workplaces.
Take. A. Minute. To. Absorb. That.
No. Cake. In. The. Office.
Jebb is presented as having everyone’s best interests at heart, as she compares cake-carrying-colleagues to smokers: just as being around a smoker might have an adverse effect on someone who is trying to quit the habit, she says people who are trying to lead a relatively cake-free life might fall back on the confectionery wagon if a colleague were to offer them a celebratory slice. A reverse Marie Antoinette, one might say.
All we have to say is: NO. We will have cake. In the office, at home, at school, in the shops, on the streets. And no one can stop us. If we must live our lives with a Constant Dread Of Deadlines and dastardly Performance Appraisals, we demand that the right to fritter away the last of last month’s salary (never mind saving for the future) on cake delivery from a bakery of choice be enshrined as a fundamental one for employees everywhere.
Don’t Rinse That Chicken
Food experts have united under the banner “Excelsior!” to speak out against common cooking instructions included in recipes, that have made them want to collectively tear out their hair and wail for the sordid future of humanity. And lest you wonder which instructions have made our revered food experts so despondent, it is these: “Rinse the chicken before cooking” (Please don’t, the experts say); “Allow the dish to come to room temperature before refrigerating” (“No, no, no,” the experts groan, almost ready to wilt and die under this burden of being the sanguine ones, that the world has thrust upon them. “Put the cooked dish into the refrigerator immediately — but ensure you leave it uncovered.”); “Cook until no pink remains” (Or — and really if you don’t want to get a severe case of food poisoning, there is no “or” — use a thermometer to confirm if your meat is cooked); “Here’s a DIY homemade oil infusion!” (Don’t even try). All right, we get it. We’re putting down the rosemary, baby.
Parting Thoughts: A social media influencer thought it was a good idea to share his method of fraudulently obtaining refunds from food delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy, with his appreciative audience online. A video posted to his Instagram handle showed the influencer chowing down on his order even as he was on the phone with a support executive, claiming that the dish delivered to him was spoilt and therefore merited a refund. Reactions were mixed, with some followers upset at what they saw as a gross abuse of the refund system, where such bad faith refund-seekers were queering the pitch for the genuinely refund worthy. Others opined that the prank was good for a laugh. As for us, we’re still chasing the Rs 37 refund we were owed last week for the roasted papad missing from our home delivery order.
We’ll be back next week with more khabar. Until then, happy Slurrping!
PS: Our legal team (okay, older sister’s friend who briefly toyed with the idea of being a lawyer as a Class Five student) advised us to include a disclaimer, that no disrespect was meant to in-laws who do not hail from Godavari district, Prof Jebb, restaurants that have “pure veg” signboards, or chicken-rinsers.