I am sure the refrigerator at our home has never smelled of pork or mutton. The freezer now surely freezes more packaged ready to eat food than ice and ice-creams. The kitchen store shelves count more number of single use cooked/semi-cooked food packets than they count lentils and types of flour. Fruit juice packets in the chiller ensure that the juicer doesn’t get pulled out from its dungeon. Our kitchen has changed and is still changing rapidly. Brands have established their supremacy in all sections of our kitchen and have changed our eating habits beyond recognition.
- Fish and Chicken have gained, mutton and pork have lost completely.
- Full skinned fish has lost to branded packets of fish fillet.
- Fresh chicken has been replaced by branded Chicken Salami, Chicken Sausage and Chicken Seekh Kabab packets.
- Our wheat flour and rice consumption has gone down and our consumption of pasta and noodle packets has shot through the roof.
- Imli Ki Chatni has vanished as a permanent fixture and a bottle of yellow mustard is a standard fixture.
- I don’t remember when fruit custard was last made, I do remember ready to make cake mix packets being out to use.
- Fresh bread-rolls are still made once in a while, especially on days when packets of potato wedges and vegetable-cheese nuggets run out.
- Branded Ginger-Garlic paste has replaced fresh grated ginger and chopped garlic cloves for fish marination.
I can go on and on. Sometimes I wonder where is that traditional Punjabi kitchen I grew up in. We no longer consume lassi by gallon from March till November instead we bring in a branded packet of masala lassi once or twice a month during those months. It is not just the convenience of cooking packaged stuff in lesser time which is bringing about this change, it is also the unlimited variety of packaged stuff suiting daily mood swings, which is doing the trick.
I still don’t know whether I am happy with our current kitchen or would have rather liked it to be the way it was, it looks like this would remain an open ended question.