Made it to Mumbai and got slightly side-tracked by North American Dairy Policy

NB this post is a few days late as I have not had internet access until now.

Camels en route to Mera, Gujarat, India

It was a pleasant flight on Kingfisher Airlines from London to Mumbai. I was able to sleep through most of it. I have another 8 hours to kill in Mumbai Airport and I have already made two trips to the food court and had some amazing food.

When I asked the airport information people about the restaurants, they informed me they had great restaurants, “like Dominos”. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. Not only was it not Indian food, it was crappy non-Indian food.

On a side note, last week I read an interesting article about Domino’s and a USDA marketing company working together to improve the taste of Domino’s Pizza after the company was ranked as having some of the worst tasting takeaway. The article points out a serious contradiction as this USDA affiliated marketing company is at once:

  • trying to find markets for full-fat or high-fat milk products as demand for them has declined, no doubt after years of the same people telling us that we need to eat low fat, fat free, skim milk, to avoid becoming (further) obese, and
  • trying to find a market for this excess of fatty milk products.

And so, suddenly Dominos has a new recipe, with fattier cheese, which is probably tastier, and if you ask them, part of a healthy and balanced diet.

A couple of years ago I seem to remember that we had the opposite problem in Canada. After Canada lost a trade ruling at the WTO (our dairy system is supply managed and apparently threatens free trade), we were no longer able to export skim milk powder to the US and so there was a big lobby effort to have our cheese regulations changed, in the name of healthier, lower fat cheese, to provide a market for this new low-fat cheese protein (much to the dismay of quality cheese producers and foreign cheese makers who export to Canada and the new cheese regulations would close markets to cheeses that do not conform to the new standards which are designed around this low fat milk protein. And really, if you are worried about fat, just don´t eat cheese or eat it in moderation.

The lights just went out at the airport, but I still have power. Anyways, as I was saying, the food court (apart from Dominos and Mad over Donuts) is pretty solid. My first meal was dhal with roti from Curry Kitchen and the second round was uttapam, a rice pancake with potatoes, spices and onions smooshed in from idli.com. We would probably best recognize it as an Indian crepe but made of rice.  They serve it with two dipping sauces. One was masala and the other, not so sure. It was really, really good. I did have trouble eating it with the spork that they gave me. I can´t remember eating protocol (hands, which are ok, which are not) and there were no knives so I made do as best, slowly and with as much subtlety as I could.

In less positive news, the heat in Mumbai is heavy and it was a serious shock to the system flying in and seeing the slums that come right up the barbed-wire fence surrounding the airport. On the bus between terminals we drove alongside them and they are vibrant places, with a lot of colour (gorgeous fabrics hanging to dry) and people sitting on make-shift roves and in windowless window frame but the poverty is shocking. Especially when gazed upon from the privilege of the air-conditioned coach bus.

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