It has been a while since my working mother took Maggie off our kitchen shelf. When I expressed my astonishment over her repulse, she irritably pointed out the whole lot of controversies associated with it. To my chagrin, I am not intellectually grown enough to criticize or welcome the departure of my staple food. Yet acknowledging the fact that memory and senses of taste and smell are interlinked I reminisce the good old childhood days I have had with Maggie. My irresistible passion for Maggie despite being a foodie sprouted in mid-2000. I owe my mother for the same though now I get owned (forcibly) for consuming Maggie for a decade and a half years.
It was actually a painful task for my working mother to feed young me and my siblings on time. She resorted to Maggie to make things ‘easier’ and ‘(un)healthier’.
“..And the delicious instant noodles is ready,” I remember my mother shouting at the top of her voice. Immediately I and siblings would rush to the kitchen to witness the two minutes magic. Yes, we have had called it “magic”. The aroma of fried chicken pieces and caramelized onions soaked in steaming noodles used to take us to another realm. My father even bought home wooden chop sticks to eat it in a classic style. In a trice our taste buds were grown accustomed to have it on a regular basis. I saw a sense of triumph and contentment on my mother’s face. Thus six family packets of Maggie took its place in our family’s monthly grocery shopping list. We started eating it too damn much and seldom looked for other brands.
Gradually Maggie became an irreplaceable family meal.
Quite contrary, many of my super-alert relatives had taken Maggie off their shelves way back. During summer holidays our ever-so entertaining cousins hurried home to have their hands on Maggie. We together tried our innovative and culinary skills with Maggie. For an eye-catching effect we even devoted a few minutes for the art of garnishing. Literally, the time consumed for garnishing was much more than the actual cooking time. The fight to have the last sip of the flavourful broth was another funniest experience. However it became the signature food of our extended family.
As I entered the threshold of adulthood and joined college, the “Fast to Cook and Good to Eat” Maggie in cups alias ‘Maggie Cuppa Mania’ again came into my rescue. Midnight hostel parties sans Maggie and other ‘childhood snacks’ were unimaginable. Labelling it a childhood snack is essentially a brutal attack on Maggie. There were different Maggie flavours enthusiasts amongst us. But I barely made out difference of all the flavours. When I did get home sick I cooked it and equated my mother to Maggie for a good reason that both have first letter of their names similar. Over phone my ever- day scholar sister tantalized my taste buds with vivid description of mom-cooked Maggie and the fun they all had. Of course, it annihilated the distance between me and my family.
In fact, banning a well-marketed noodle brand all of a sudden is apprehensive. You may call it boon or bane. But the most demanding question now is why our government took three decades to ban this excessive MSG (monosodium glutamate) content food (as they accuse). I’m not complaining about it, though.
Nevertheless, why don’t the ‘ever’ public health conscious government display statutory warning note on the pack and leave it for our choice? Kindly excuse if I go nonsensical.
At this point of waving Goodbye to Maggie, I wish to say that eating Maggie embodies the essence of human emotions than merely satisfying hunger pangs. In such a scenario, shouldn’t I be treasuring the attractive dark- yellowish wrap of it?
The proustian experience I have with this filling meal is rather divine. I would cherish every golden and delightful moment I had with you, Maggie.
By: Meritta Joy