Food :|

Back after a hiatus.. sometimes you get the niggling doubt at the back of your mind that God is simply being stubborn and wants you to listen to him RIGHT NOW! Which is why I spent the better part of this week clutching my stomach in pain. As it turned out, the pain seemed to be emanating from the right side and I had to visit my friendly doctor with whom I’ve gotten to be on first name terms these days.

Now, there’s an important lesson to be learned before you visit the University health center – No matter what your problem is, be prepared to answer these three questions:

“Are you pregnant?”

“When was your last sexual encounter?”

“How sexually active are you?”

I’m not kidding. I had gone a month earlier for a shoulder muscle pull and was made to fill out a questionnaire. My roommate had gone for a dental checkup and was interrogated the same way. Jesus, what’s with the paranoia, people?!

Anyway, I digress. Let me continue with the ONE subject that started all this.. food. As it turns out, my lesson no. 1 in the last post isn’t quite working as well as I’d thought. The equation is ridiculously skewed if the food is free and you have to spend 40 bucks later on tests and doctor’s fees. *groan*

However, let me go ahead.

Lesson no. 2(Ignore lesson no.1 in previous post): They all have nutrition labels.

Everything has a nutrition label, unlike back home. You can make out exactly what kind of trash you are eating, which is good, because words like ‘high fructose corn syrup’ and ‘trans fats’ will make themselves blindingly clear when you read them. Avoid these edibles at all costs – I won’t tell you why right now because there are like a zillion pages on corn syrup alone.

Lesson no. 3: Juices versus fruits. Go for the fruit.

Juices have preservatives. Fruit has fiber. Juices are costly. So is fruit. Juices will just satisfy your thirst (probably). Fruit will keep you fulfilled. I mean, not fulfilled in the ‘I’m content with life’ way but at least a ‘I’m satiated’ solution to an ever-demanding metabolism.

Lesson no. 4: Bread! Brown, whole wheat, honey..

When you see those super-sized Americans on TV or those size 20 clothes, you’ve got to be wondering what they eat, right? Well, wonder of wonders.. it’s that inane piece of bread. It’s eaten with everything, in every way possible. Rolls, wraps, sandwiches, slices, pizzas… everything you eat is bread! So the watch word is – ‘Watch Out!’.

Lesson no. 5: Fillings! Hummus, peanut butter, Chicken salad, eggs..

Believe it or not, one serving of peanut butter a day is recommended. Hummus and vegan chicken salad are excellent alternatives for vegetarians. But you wouldn’t want to be looking quizzically at the scale wondering why you put on.. it’s most likely they added a generous dollop of margarine or mayo. There. That’s your mysterious nemesis.

I guess I could go on forever.. let me stop short now and write on something else… or maybe grab a bite from the refrigerator. πŸ˜€

Food!

As much as I wanted to continue with the debate in the last post, I felt I had to continue with the posting.. but let this not be the end of it. We are the future.. we need to get our act together.

‘I’m hungry’.

‘Is this edible? How do they manage to eat this?’

‘How am I supposed to eat this?’

Eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwww….

Yeah, I know. I call this the HFWS (Home Food Withdrawal Syndrome). And believe me, I understand.

I remember I had not eaten anything during exam time last december because my body refused to take in a morsel without salt or chilli. And my hands refused to cook for my body. So I remained hungry for about a week until the brain had to take command from its usual state of torpor.

If you do not have insurance, which I consider pretty likely as a corollary of the ‘clueless’ theorem, you don’t want to go in the direction mentioned above.. you would be spending waaaay more than you ever imagined on medical bills. Medicine and democracy don’t go hand-in-hand here.

Wokie. So we’ve decided that food is important. Not just ‘survival’ important, but also ‘don’t-milk-me-dry’ important. With that, I welcome you to the land of a wonderful array of delicacies and cuisines! You are so set to experience one of the most fulfilling hobbies – tasting and gluttony! πŸ˜€

Lesson No. 1 – Don’t give up on free food.

Since the population is less, hosts can reasonably assume that there won’t be a long queue of starving people who haven’t eaten for a month, and you can always grab a bite at an event or barbecue. Free food here means pizza, fruit, salad, juice or coke – in short, there’s something for everyone.

The trick is to get your timing right. But there’s no reason to scoot there and gorge yourself silly if you are not hungry.. you’ll only end up upsetting your stomach and metabolism.

Lesson No. 2 – Eat at the right time.

Soooo many friends of mine skip breakfast even when it is as simple as gobbling some cereal, drinking milk and then giving yourself a vigorous shake to make sure the mix is right. Breakfast is VERY important if you don’t want to end up feeling hungry at 11 am and then being forced to shell out 5 unnecessary bucks to have a doughnut. You would have done injustice to both your bank balance and your body.

Similarly, americans here have dinner at 6:30 pm or so, which I believe is a very smart move.. it eliminates the need to stay up late just in case you regurgitate whatever you ate at midnight due to acidity. Eating late also makes all that food be saved as fat rather than readily-usable energy, so think twice before eating late.

(To be continued – Vegans, vegetarians, cuisines, drinks, meat)

Better off..

On the other hand, you won’t find politicians here trying to screw people over and over again by reserving seats just to favor a particular ‘caste’.

This can happen only in India where a 60 year old rule not only exists, but is also extended to supposedly enhance the education system, and is upheld by the highest court of justice in a land of 2 billion multi-cultured people.

No wonder people leave. Why blame them. While the heads of the nation are greedily counting votes, the actual ‘creamy layer’ is walking away in disgust.

Can we stand up and fight? Can we show blood?

A reality check!

Of course you had visions about certain things in the United States.. granted. After all, that’s why we travel, to get the real dope on what exactly is going on in different parts of the world.

Well, this is just a compilation of what you must not assume.. All thanks to my often-embarrassing experiences here:

MYTH 1: Americans are dumb. We’re way superior in IQ.

CORRECTION: Americans are NOT dumb. They are highly analytical, articulate and very expressive. Could that be the reason why we find them to be our bosses at some level? Think about it.

MYTH 2: People here are laid back and easy going.

CORRECTION: Well, they may seem so. But I have never met more driven people. Many of them have solid goals and most make it happen.. the opportunities here are endless for someone who is inspired and takes initiative.

MYTH 3 : Life is good! Food, water, electricity – unlimited! Internet all the time!

CORRECTION : America has been screamed at too many times to count, for being the biggest consumer in the world. While the Asians suffer oppressive heat and long power cuts in silence, all the homes here are air-conditioned and lights are left on even when people are away. Where one white light would do, there are 5 incandescent bulbs. It’s not a happy situation.

Yep, you can have all the hot showers you want. Just remember that your parents are still using the geyser to heat even 1 bucket of water.

True, you can be on the internet searching for people, businesses or even porn. Just remember that you will stop speaking to anyone in reality because you will be spending most of your time typing out ‘LOL’ instead of actually laughing out loud.

MYTH 4: White men! White women! WooooooW!

CORRECTION: Yes. It’s good to mix up and see different cultures. I will also add (shyly) that Russian men are the hottest I have encountered so far. *blush* πŸ™‚

That said, it’s better to keep your feet on the ground. Don’t go overboard. Remember what I said about ogling? Well, you get the point. Enjoy, learn and take in all the wonderful things new cultures can offer. Treat everybody the same and people will respect you for your fairness.

MYTH 5: Car, babes and money! Life is good!

CORRECTION : Even if you could afford the car, gas will dry your pockets worse than a raindrop in a desert. Babes, well, they won’t exactly be dancing around you, honey. Money, you’d be lucky to save some for the next semester. Sigh.. student times are quite lean, actually.

Wokay, while you’re reeling under this one, I would appreciate if my colleagues can come up with more. After all, we take the heavy burden of ‘educating’, no? πŸ˜€

Whew! Now what?

Apartment? Check. Roommates? Check. Orientation? Done.

Onward! Time to do the real thinking now!

So why exactly are you here anyway? While you take a moment to think this through(YET again over the past 2 years), here are a few reasons(Courtesy: EDULIX) why so many students come to this land of wonderful opportunities:

See the world (pretty expensive for an educational tour, don’t ya think? πŸ˜›)

Free beer (It seems beer is cheaper than water, hence free. Hit me again, but I didn’t get the logic here. πŸ˜€)

Favorable exchange rate. (Ooh yeaah… that’s a good one, if you’re earning enough to send some back!)

Out of country experience and good education. (That’s the most technically correct answer I ever heard. Good job, mate!)

Non-rattofying(Not by rote) education (Yep, this one I whole-heartedly agree with.)

Babes (Both in USA and on Return) (oh, you poor poor thing.. I can’t bear to see that look of disappointment when you realize that you are the same loser, whether you are here or back home.)

Freedom, Liberty, Justice & Equality (Harr harr!!! Alrightie, on a more serious note, maybe you need to redefine what these terms mean.)

Dignity of Labour (Agreed. The best part about this culture.)

Las vegas/Miami trip (Yeah, baby! Now that’s a real treat!)

More Dowry! (LOL! Best of luck, I say!)

And no, I was not kidding when I wrote the italics. Stop looking at it as a land of dreams and keep your feet firmly on the ground. You will be fine.