July 27, 2005

what lies beneath?

While doling out some cereal this morning, i noticed the box had a sticker on it, with the word syrup, so that "invert syrup" was listed as an ingredient.

curiosity roused i quickwatson,thegame'safoot-ed. removed the sticker, while noting that the paper used was ordinary, and i didn't know the source. (i am not writing a monograph on the subject).

but what terrible word lay below the sticker, that it had to be censored from the tender minds of muesli eaters?

the word was sugar!so it was invert sugar and not invert syrup in my muesli!

apparently, invert sugar is created by combining a sugar syrup with a small amount of acid (such as cream of tartar or lemon juice) and heating. This inverts, or breaks down, the sucrose into its two components, glucose and fructose, thereby reducing the size of the sugar crystals. Because of its fine crystal structure, invert sugar produces a smooth product.
Now invert syrup, my notes tell me, is made by boiling equal parts of granulated sugar and water-and add a pinch of cream of tartar.

so invert syrup is the same as invert sugar!

i'm not going to stop eating muesli because it has sugar. i just wish theyd say so without all the mystery.
or sweeten it with HONEY (Highfructosecornsyrup ON EverYthing)

July 26, 2005

gnu toys!

acquired this week:

item 1- dvd player
item 2- boomerang
item 3- "down to earth" and "Economist" magazine subsciptions

finally i shall be a well-rounded personality- huntin and readin, just like hemingway!
can't wait to practice flinging the dvd player in lalbagh and watching it curve lazily back, with my dinner in tow.
although (fingers steepled together) if the dvd player hits something, its not going to come back, is it? i'll actually have to *walk* there and pick up the carcass and *walk* back to my cave, dragging it behind.

a goat's leap... of faith?

karnataka does itself very well in the rocks department. from hampi to ramanagaram, large boulders sit amongst rivers and greenery, inviting me to climb them. did a bit of that at mekedatu this weekend. for those of you who don't know- its a 100k drive from bangalore where the arkavathy joins the cauvery and goes through a narrowish gorge that reputedly a goat could leap across.

the road was good enough to make the roads in koramangala gnash their potholes in envy.. and there was a lil series of road signs on a steep patch. the first one read "change gear".. the next one said "you have been warned". we had indeed been warned. a little later i almost fell out of my seat when i read "chat ends". closer inspection proved that the sign said "ghat ends".

the weather was perfect too- cloudy enough to ensure that the rocks didnt get hot. but no rain, so we could bask above the river, eating our jackfruit chips, apples and chikki. it became a bit daytrippy after a while though- far too many people laden with chatais, bagsnbags of food and littleuns running about.

there's a little stretch of the arkavathy that you have to cross, it cant have been fun lugging all that luggage across. i did try to create some artificial excitement by claiming that the water was getting higher, the current stronger.. and (ending in a high-pitched scream) was that a croc edging towards me? but apart from a squeaky couple, nobody else bought it.
sigh. back to the drawing board.

after i got back i heard that a number of people had contracted cerebral malaria after a visit to mekedatu. but my cerebrum, cortex and cerebellum seem to be ticking along or sleeping on the job, as the case may be.
(is mr smart e. pants going to write in comments about the "real" contents of my brain? with links?)

July 20, 2005

tiki (no, not another food post)

Read two books this weekend. One was a classic tale of grit, search for new horizons and had plenty of swashbuckling excitement. the other was a rather dull chronicle.

the second one, as you rightly guessed (what discerning readers i have!) was the new harry potter. shant bother any more about it other than to say that i didn't plonk down rs 800 or whatever, and am glad. glad, dyouhearme?

the first one was "the kon tiki voyage" by thor heyerdahl. those of you who had the gulmohar reader in the 3rd std will remember a small extract from it. the language is simple (hence inclusion in the syllabus for 8 year olds), though thor keeps referring to waves as "seas".. as in "a large sea hit the raft". very endearing.

its about thor's theory that the polynesians got to the islands in the pacific from peru, on rafts. since everyone debunked it, thor got together 4 more norwegians, 1 swede and balsa from equador, put together a raft and sailed off into the pacific. lots of wry humour and shark catching techniques -- they were in a raft, so rather close to the surface of the sea, as well as whales and flying fish.

its a great read, makes you want to get onto a raft with bearded norwegians and solve your own anthropological puzzle.

July 18, 2005

1857- a love story

waddled over to a london-returned colleague's desk today. the usual suspects were wolfing down chocolate. one of them warned me in hushed tones, "boss, there might be beef in some of these.. that's the word on the street.. the nose knows.."
beef in chocolates? beef chocolates?
i doubted it told him that's how rumours start. yknow, the cartridges are lined with beef and pork, rise up and revolt against the revolting brits!
a part of me is enacting biting into the cartridge, when another part of me thinks, "mmm.. beef and pork" and sits down to make a meal out of the cartridges.

July 15, 2005

veggie tales

there's a new book out called "everything i ate: a year in the life of my mouth". the appropriately name tucker takes pictures of every single thing he tucked into in the past 365 days. this includes a bowl of cereal every night, lots of steak and the occasional toe-nibble.

reality-reading? seems voyeuristic and narcissistic, neh? (she asked as she wrote in her web log. point taken)
it's probably a good device to make you appreciate food better, and -if you and everyone else saw pictures of your midnight potato chips and chikki extravaganza-mebbe would make you eat healthier.

right now, my food quest is getting more and more weighty. literally. am up to 5 lil dubbas in a plastic bag. there's the staple lunch box- lime green two layered from westside with 2 polis and a bhaji. a lil dubba with cucumber raita. the carrot for elevenses, two plums for 4 and two fingersized bananas for pre and post gym.
that's the plan anyway, most of this is usually devoured by 11:00 am.

July 08, 2005

vada pao

Just discovered a nice lil place close to the office that serves
vada pao- fresh pao and crisp wadas with enough garlic to send dracula back to pennsly.. translyvania
shrikhand-puri-batatyacha rassa- good stuff!
sabudanyachi khichadi- decent, but not enough dane (peanuts, not natives of denmark)
sabudana wadas- three thumbs up! crisp outside, fluffy inside and served with sweetened dahi
panha- untried, rumoured to be good
kokum sarbat- good, but not like mother makes it
thalipeeth- crisp and served with plenty of butter. very good indeed.
kulfi-not quite the way i like it
aamras puri-untried

its a little place and you have to stand to eat, which offends my sensibilities. there are lil stools for the sensibilityoffended, but if you sat on one o'them, the table would loom above you and everyone else would eat your sabudana wadas while you flailed about helplessly.

very reasonably priced and the lil pink cheeked owner/ manager rode off for an afternoon nap (i presume) on a luna.

in other news, the coffee machine on our floor was announced to also serve us with tomato soup. its been pouring nothing but hot water since i tried. but seeing as how the coffee there tastes like the hotchoc which tastes like the tea which tastes like the badam milk, lack of soup may be a good thing.

reminds me of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Nutrimatic Machines...when the 'Drink' button is pressed it makes an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject's brain to see what is likely to be well received. However, no-one knows quite why it does this because it then invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

July 07, 2005

der fliegender finn

the original flying finn was paavo nurmi- the long distance runner- as anyone who ever took part in a quiz and used the bournvita book to prepare knows.

not to be confused with the flying dutchman, who's reknown is based on the legend of captain van der decken, who hit a storm near south africa and proclaimed "I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until doomsday!" and apparently, he still is.

but i digress. returning to finland, i suddenly remembered the country because i had a finnish penpal. "ow did 'at 'appen?", you ask in your cockney way.
well, there was an international penpal provider based in suomi, finland. all of us signed up for penpals, listed our hobbies (swimming, reading) and language skills.. everyone asked for correspondents from australia, canada and france. some of us got those, but were generously awarded finnish penpals too.

it used to be such a thrill to get a thick envelope with finnish stamps.. the letter (always in pencil and without the letters joint) would talk about pets, family, occasional photos and how iveforgottenhernamehowcouldisoilljustcallher katrikki's sister had watched the mahabharat.

wonder if kids still have penpals. not with all this emailing about, i suppose.

endnote: a brother who shall remain nameless once wanted a russian penfriend. so he addressed a polite letter asking for one. to mikhail gorbachev, president USSR, kremlin, moscow.
and he got a penpal!
from chernobyl!

July 01, 2005


had a pleasant electricity paying experience yesterday. there are BESCOM centres all over town, popped into the nearest one during lunch. the office was closed. no problemo i said, strolled up to the ATM machine there. a helpful employee took my bill and scanned it. then took my money, smoothened it so that the machine was forced to accept it. it credited my account with the extra i paid cos i didnt have change. spat out a receipt and sent me on my way. just like that.
pretty soon, the roomate and i are going to fight over who gets to go to pay the bill.
(sniffily) yes, we do have lives, thankyouverrymuch.

dont know how easy paying other bills is. paying the cell phone bill is easy (sort of), a gas cylinder is obtained by dialing gasman. having a nugatory bank balance means i don't have to juggle premia and investments. and as always rent is delivered in a sealed envelope with a symbolic supari under a stone near a bridge while whistling "lorelei".